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OPINION: LET’S THINK & TALK By Atiku Abubakar, GCON.

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LET’S THINK MORE ABOUT PRODUCTION THAN SHARING .
“We have natural resources, but without human capital neither Nigeria nor the Niger Delta can be like Singapore, which did not have significant natural resources to start with. But a nation without natural resources can be like Singapore if it develops its human capital, as Japan did before Singapore.

.. We must, therefore, demand good governance at all levels of our government. The immense developmental strides achieved by our First Republic leaders were achieved without oil revenues, yet we have for over forty (40) years now been behaving as though nothing can be achieved without oil revenues. We should all be thinking more about production rather than distribution or sharing. I do not know of any Country in the World that has developed just by its leaders gathering in their capital city every month to share revenues from rent.

During the 1994-95 constitutional conference some of us argued that such organs as Federal Ministries of Education, Health, Agriculture and sports were unnecessary.
We reasoned that their responsibilities should be devolved to States and Local Governments. At best the Federal Government should establish standards and regulatory bodies give grants to states that conform to them. This proposal was not adopted by the constitutional conference, so the current structure was retained.
Why should we be talking of federal roads and federal secondary schools?

Decentralization is not an invitation to the breakup of the country and national unity should not continue to be confused with unitarism and concentration of power and resources at the federal level. Of course I am aware that some of the main beneficiaries of our erstwhile regional parliamentary democracy have been hiding behind a call for restructuring to push for the breakup of the country because of their proximity to a finite natural resource and transient political power.”

…. THE MOST POWERFUL PRESIDENT IN THE WORLD.
“One of the consequences of excessive centralization and the military rule that facilitated it, is that the Nigerian President is the most powerful President in the world. This is because he could quite literally unleash all security agencies on an individual or organization, undermine the National Assembly, and turn the judiciary into an almost pro-government and conformist organ. This is not in the realm of speculation; it has been happening in this country. Indeed I drew attention to it when I was in office as Vice President and was having a political face-off with my Boss. It is not healthy for democracy and must be changed”.

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TOO MUCH POWER AT THE CENTRE…..WHAT’S WRONG WITH STATE POLICE?
“I also want to recall that during the said 1994-95 Constitutional Conference,
Dr. Alex Ekwueme, GCON, the Second Republic Vice President of this federation, introduced and canvassed for the concept of geo-political zones. I was among those who opposed it because I thought that Ekwueme, coming from the defunct Republic of Biafra, wanted to break up the country again. Now I realize that I should have supported him because our current federal structure is clearly not working. Dr Ekwueme obviously saw what some us, with our civil war mindset, could not see at the time. There is indeed too much concentration of power and resources at the centre. And it is stifling our march to true greatness as a nation and threatening our unity because of all the abuses, inefficiencies, corruption and reactive tensions that it has been generating.

There is need, therefore, to review the structure of the Nigerian federation, preferably along the basis of the current six geo-political zones as regions and the states as provinces. The existing states structure may not suffice, as the states are too weak materially and politically to provide what is needed for good governance.

In the same vein, I see nothing wrong with the establishment of State Police by the states that want it, as long as it can be insulated from and is independent of the State or Regional Government. The argument that Governors will abuse State Police is rather specious. Should we abolish the Nigerian Police because it is often abuse by those in power at the federal level? Should we abolish the State treasuries because Governors abuse them? And should we also abolish Local Governments for the same reason? No. We should, as a people, struggle for and put in place institutional safeguards against abuse of power by those in power at all levels. We have a chance now to put many of those safeguards in a new constitution.”

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….AND STATE FLAGS….AND STATE WAGES .

“And, as is typical with working federations around the world, state flag or anthem should not get us overly excited. Local identities and symbols are not antithetical to and do not preclude national identities. I, for one, am a proud northerner and I am a proud citizen of Nigeria. American states all have flags and anthem; yet I do not know of many countries that are more stable and united than the United States of America.

It is also absurd to say that all parts of the country should have a uniform wage structure for workers. Our states and regions have different revenue endowments and varying costs of living. And it is misguided for labour leaders to think that uniform wage structure across the country is in the best interest of workers. Employers, including state governments and agencies, that have the capacity to pay more should be able to do so. That can spur competition for the best talent, which may indeed raise overall wage levels (and standard of living) in the country.

Minimum wage standards should, therefore, be established by state/regional governments”.

THE LAST HOPE OF THE COMMON PERSON .

“Our judiciary is bloated, and increasingly conformist and pro-establishment. Yet justice is always delayed. In the US, which has a larger population and land mass, we find that the judiciary, while not bloated, delivers justice faster. I would like to see a more activist judiciary at all levels-local, regional and federal-one that actually does justice rather than hide behind technicalities to do injustice. I would like to see a judiciary that is able to live up to its billing as the last hope of the common person”

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TWO POLITICAL PARTIES, PERIOD.
“I have long been an advocate of a two-party system because of our class, ethnic, religious and regional fault lines. My recommendation for legislative amendment in that regard is for the National Assembly to pass a law stating that there shall be two political parties in Nigeria, full stop. It does not have to decree their ideology their ideologies or platforms. This, in my view, will produce two political parties that will cut across our various divides, and be viable alternatives capable of forming government after elections.

Ruling parties all over the world never want strong opposition parties and in contexts such as ours are capable of undermining efforts by opposition parties to coalesce into a single formidable alternative party”.

 

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National Issues

#ENDSARS: Buhari to address the Nation at 7pm on Thursday

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President Muhammadu Buhari will make will make a national broadcast Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 7pm.

This was stated in a Press Statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adriana

According to him, “Following detailed briefing by security chiefs on the current situation in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari

”Television, radio and other electronic media outlets are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Radio Nigeria respectively for the broadcast”.

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National Issues

#ENDSARS: ‘Military offensive on protesters is an abomination, Akande -Sadipe talks tough

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Akande-Sadipe

The Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe has called on President Muhammed Buhari to address the killing of unarmed protesters across the nation, while condemning the killing of protesters by Armed Security operatives in the country.

Tolulope Akande Sadipe in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday said, “I weep for my beloved country, Nigeria. This is the Darkest Moment in our Nation. The Current Action is Unacceptable”.

She wondered why men of the Nigerian Army turned on the people they were meant to Protect, firing live bullets at citizens holding the Nigerian Flag and chanting the National Anthem, describing such as an “Abomination”.

“I, as a member of the House of Representatives cannot keep quiet in the midst of this abominable action. I was duly elected to be the voice of my people and my people are weeping”, she said.

She opined that the protests were about a generation trying to end the systematic rot that pervades the society, which had eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nation.

The APC chieftain  continued, “We need to be honest with one another on this matter. We need to face the truth on ground. The youths were out there because they are tired and fed up of victimization, daily oppression, injustice, unemployment, untapped talents, lack of opportunity, poor healthcare, poor education and lack of infrastructure and power across the Nation. The Youths are protesting for a better future for themselves and their children. The #EndSARS PROTEST stands for the systematic ROT in our Nation.

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“This was about the realities on ground. This was about the ROT since independence. This was about genuine service to the people who elected us to represent them. This was not about the President, this was not about the current administration, this was not about North and South, this was not about Religion. This was not about party affiliation. This was about a Generation trying to end the systematic ROT that pervades our society”.

Speaking against the backdrop that there are some external forces pushing for the destruction of Nigeria, the lawmaker representing Oluyole Federal Constituency  said the Federal Government should genuinely address issues.

“Those alluding, that there is a 5th Columnist within or external, there is a solution. If there is a 5th columnist or external negative force, pushing for the destruction of Nigeria, if we do the right thing, by genuinely addressing the issues that have led to the distrust between leadership and our youths, by addressing the rot that has pervaded our Nation. The 5th columnist in our midst or external negative force, would fail. But with this action, what have we said to the Youth and to the world.

“This is the time to make the wrongs right and it is not by bringing out the Army to shoot its own citizens, that we achieve this. We can still put a stop to this inferno. We must realize that no position is permanent and it is the country we make that we shall all live in”, she added.

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Concluding, she empathized with all the families of fallen Youth Patriots, praying that their death would not be in vain.

 

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National Issues

Nigeria Excluded From 2022 US Visa Lottery

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Nigeria has been barred from the US visa lottery application for 2022, a document obtained from the US Government website showed. 

In a 19-page document published on the website, Nigeria is the only African country barred from the visa lottery.

“For DV-2022, persons born in the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than, 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam,” the document read. “Persons born in Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.”

Although natives of other African countries are allowed to apply, the document explained that “persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt,” it said.

“Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria.”

In the document captioned “Instructions for the 2022 diversity immigrant visa program (dv-2022),” applicants must meet certain guidelines to be eligible for the visa lottery.

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“The Department of State determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing,” the statement added.

“The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven per cent of the available DVs in any one year.”

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