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Again, Obasanjo Fires Federal Lawmakers Over Jumbo Pay

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the National Assembly and the jumbo pay for lawmakers as a huge drain on national economy.

He said the Nigerian lawmakers enjoy huge pay, which he described as the highest in the world where, according to him, an estimated 75 percent of Nigerians populace lived in poverty.

Obasanjo said this at the book presentation of Prof. Mark Nwagwu entitled: “I am Kagara, I Weave the Sands of Sahara” at the University of Ibadan.

He was the Chief Host, while the former Minister of Education; Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili chaired the occasion.

The former President said he would continue to criticise the Nigerian lawmakers as long as they continue to receive huge pay, which he insisted, consume a huge percentage of the nation’s overhead cost.

He, however, urged the federal government and the National Assembly to reduce the cost expended on payment of overheads and salaries.

The former president said that government spending on overheads, salaries and allowances in the face of the prevailing economic situation would not boost the socio-economic development of the country.

“Ninety per cent of our revenue goes to pay overhead, allowances, salaries and not much is left for capital development.

“We are not going to develop this way and we will only have ourselves to blame.

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“It is even worse with the National Assembly, they are one of the highest paid legislatures in the world.

“We have 75 per cent of our population living in abject poverty, yet these people have refused to cut down their earnings.

“We must speak out to get corrected when we err, the behaviour and character of the National Assembly is one that should be condemned,” he said.

Reacting to the ongoing indefinite strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Obasanjo urged the government to honour the agreement it entered into with the union.

“I have seen this in government; maybe it is a lesson government will learn. Government should not allow itself to be stampeded into signing agreement without full consultation with those within the government.

“Then, they run into the implementation of that agreement that has been signed; however, an agreement is an agreement and whoever is your agent who signed the agreement on your behalf, you are bound by it,” he said.

In her remarks, Oby Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education, urged the society to offer the girl-child opportunity to excel by giving her equal right to education as her male counterpart.

I am Kagara” is built around a female heroine; the book highlights the marked difference a woman can make if given the needed support.

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“The greatest support a girl-child could have is that of a strong male who gives her a voice and is not afraid of her,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the book was set in contemporary Nigeria where terrorist organisations are threatening innocent residents in the Niger Delta and the North-east Zone.

(NAN)

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Exclusive:  Laribikusi Ruling House to Produce Next Eleruwa

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Following the recent Supreme Court Judgment which terminated the 21 year royal reign of former Eleruwa of Eruwa, Mr. Samuel Adebayo Adegbola and consequently declared vacant the stool of the popular town. The Laribikusi Ruling Quarters billed to produce the next king have begun to reach out to the kingmakers, Mega Icon Magazine exclusively gathered

Eruwa, the headquarters of Ibarapa East Local Government Area in South-western Nigeria located in Oyo state. Eruwa is 72 km South west of Ibadan and 60 km North east of Abeokuta.

According to Eruwa declaration of 1958, the Akalako (Akalakoyi) Ruling Quarters and Laribikusi (Olaribikusi) Ruling Quarters are the only two Families that can produce the Eleruwa of Eruwa.

Our reporter reliably gathered that the Laribikusi Ruling Quarters with candidates from four sections; comprising of Omoni, Sabi, Ajao and Lasubu would be considered by the Kingmakers. They have started discreet moves to position their respective candidates for the exalted position.

Our further checks revealed that the sacked Eleruwa of Eruwa, Adegbola’s predecessor, the late Oba Bolanle Olaniyan Gbajumola II, who reigned between 1972-1994 came from the Akalako Ruling Quarters, therefore;  it is the turn of Laribikusi Ruling Quarters to produce the next Eleruwa.

“Declaration that following the death of Oba Bolanle Olaniyan from the Akalako Ruling Quarters, is the turn of Laribikusi Ruling Quarters to present the new Eleruwa and the first defendant, being a member of the same Akalako Ruling Quarters with late Oba Bolanle Olaniyan is not qualified to contest or ascend the throne”, the Supreme court judgement reads.

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Members of the Laribikusi Ruling Quarters, whose candidates would be considered for the throne had started in house screening of aspirants in readiness for when the race would formally begin. However, one of the major traditions being considered, according to an informed source, was that the next successor must have his forebear (s), as a former king buried in Igbo Iwaye, where the late kings were interred .

The source added that the next king must be educated, popular, outspoken,  integrity personified, exposed and be an outstanding personality that would command respect of all and sundry. “He must also be able to use his influence to attract more development to the town”, he concluded.

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Makinde signs Anti-Corruption Bill into Law

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Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has signed  the Oyo State Anti-Corruption Bill 2019 into Law.

The Governor, who assented to the bill passed last week by the State House of Assembly, said that his assent was a signal his government was ready to enforce probity and accountability.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, confirmed that Governor Makinde, immediately after his assent, transferred the law to the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo for further administrative actions.

The Governor had, as part of initial declarations upon assumption of office, declared that the State under his watch would establish its own anti-corruption agency to ensure probity, accountability and good governance.
While signing the bill into law on Wednesday, Governor Makinde said: “We have just signed the anti-corruption law for Oyo State. There is nothing to be afraid of. Why we have domesticated the anti-corruption law is that just as we want the governance to get closer to the grassroots. We also want to guard the resources of the state in the same manner.

“Yes, corruption kills the society. When money meant for projects, salaries and certain developmental initiatives are diverted, we miss the opportunities.”

The Governor, who spoke at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s Office, said that the law has no political colourations, as according to him, corruption and underdevelopment have no political leanings.

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“This is not a law meant to witch-hunt anyone. It is not about politics or political interests. It is not about APC or PDP but about Oyo State. We know for a fact that if we tackle corruption, we will have enough resources to take care of our people and that is exactly what this law is meant to achieve for us,” he said.

The Governor reiterated his readiness to waive his immunity and face any corrupt charges against him, if he commits any infractions to the law.

He added: “So, we believe we have to tackle corruption. I said it during my inaugural address as the Executive Governor of Oyo State that I will be ready to waive my immunity to face any corruption charges against my person and I still maintain that position.”

The Governor, therefore, enjoined every citizen of the State to alert the Government of any unscrupulous activities, adding; “if you see something, say something.”

He also warned against writing frivolous petitions, adding that anyone found guilty of such would equally be prosecuted.

“I want to implore everybody, the citizens of Oyo State to say something when they see something. And I can give you the assurance that we will act. We do know that people may want to take certain things for granted.

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“They may want to use this law to settle scores, because we have seen situations where people wrote frivolous petitions against somebody they have hatred for and, with that, they think they have the opportunity to square up.

“Well, we won’t condone that. If you write a frivolous petition to us, you will also be sanctioned because that is corruption in itself.”
He warned the Civil Servants not to petitions themselves wrongly as anybody found doing so would face the law.

“And for my constituency, the civil servants, I do know that people jostle for positions, where they malign themselves to get into a higher position. This is not what the law is about. This law is to ensure that due processes are followed in our financial dealings and to ensure our resources are deployed for specific reasons why they were appropriated for, in the first instance.

The Governor further said: “So, it’s a new opportunity for us to show the world that we can run a transparent and accountable government. I do hope that nobody here will fall into the trap of corruption.

“I did mention that there is a serious temptation in this job. For instance, I am being paid N550,000 and I have to run a yearly budget of over 200 billion Naira. Of course, we will be tempted but we have to resist the temptation.

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We have to know that whichever position we occupy is based on the trust of the people and when we leave, we will still go back to the larger society and, if we perpetuate corruption, the effect is waiting for us out there.

“So, I want to assure the people of Oyo State that this law will keep us in check, hold us accountable. And if you have anything about any of us, don’t hesitate to bring the facts out and the law will take its full course.”

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Senate President Wants Buhari To Declare State Of Emergency In Power Sector

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The Senate President,  Ahmad Lawan has  called on the Executive to, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency in the power sector to overcome the legion of problems stalling steady power supply in Nigeria.

Lawan stated this on Monday while declaring open a one-day round-table discussion with the theme: “Addressing Nigeria’s Power Problems” organized by the Senate Committee on Power.

The Senate President declared that the privatization of the power sector in 2005 and 2013 was a grand scheme conceived with the intention to defraud Nigeria.

According to him, “For me if there’s any sector of our economy that is so important and yet so challenged, it is the power sector. I believe that this is a sector that needs a declaration of emergency.

“This is an opportunity for us in this round-table to exhaustively discuss not only the problems of the power sector in Nigeria but the solutions and way forward.

“The truth is that we all know what is wrong. What we really need to do is to have the political will to take on the challenges generally.

“From the electricity power reform of 2005 to the privatization of Gencos and Discos and to what is happening today, we know that everything is a fraud. If we play the ostrich, in the next ten years we will be talking about the same things.

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“I think the time has come for us to have courage. I want to remind us, that we have signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. What will give us an edge is to have a competitive environment.

“Our industries and businesses must be able to produce things that can compete favourably with products produced in other countries in Africa. We are not in that position today, and we all know the consequences of that.

“Even our citizens, who have capital, will rather relocate to Ghana, produce whatever they want and bring to Nigeria to sell. Where does that leave our country? No employment opportunities; Nigeria becomes a dumping ground”, he lamented.

The Senate President, therefore, called for a review of the privatization exercise undertaken by the Goodluck Jonathan administration which led to a takeover of the power sector by private Generating Companies (Gencos) and Distribution Companies (Discos).

Lawan added  that the National Assembly would make a significant contribution to the reform of the power sector through enabling legislation required to turn around the fortunes of power generation and distribution in Nigeria.

“If we went wrong with our privatization of Gencos and Discos, the time has come to look into it.

“Whatever we have to do to review these things, we should do. We must do it in the interest of the people of this country. We must admit there was something done wrong.

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“This round-table actually is an idea of the Senate, that we should come together to talk among ourselves. Ours is to provide legislative interventions, but we are also part of the government.

“Therefore, whatever that is required to support the executive arm of government to turn-around this sector, in fact we are more than prepared to do so through legislation.

“If we are going to amend the power sector reform, we are prepared to do that, and expeditiously. Tell us where the issues are, because we can’t afford to delay any action to make the power sector of this country perform.

“In the sixties, we were comparing ourselves with Indonesia, Malaysia and the rest, now we started comparing with Ghana, Togo. With all due respect, that tells us we are not making progress where other countries are.

“This round-table is an opportunity to come up with measurable roadmaps because we are not going to leave the implementation to the executive alone. We want to participate in every inch of the way.

“Every bit of what is to be done; we want to be part of it, so that we can contribute meaningfully to take the power sector to the next level.

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“It is really disheartening that we are still talking about 4,000 megawatts. I don’t understand this. Other countries within Africa are talking of so much, even Ghana is three times better than what we are doing.”

He also called on the federal government to deploy the political will towards revamping Nigeria’s failing power sector. “We are yet the largest economy in Africa, for how long can we sustain that position?

“I believe that we have to declare a state of emergency on Power, and courageous decisions must be taken by the government”, the Senate President said.

 

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