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We’ll Reclaim Kwara From Saraki, Oshiomhole Vows

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The national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has vowed that the party will reclaim Kwara State from the grip of Senate President Bukola Saraki at the forthcoming general election.

Oshiomhole said this in Abuja during a meeting with APC stakeholders from Kwara State led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. He directed leaders of the party to ensure the conclusion of the election of executives from the ward to the state levels this weekend.

Oshiomhole said his earlier position that Saraki planned to destroy APC because of his inordinate ambition was vindicated by the Senate president’s recent declaration of his presidential ambition on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

But Saraki, who recently defected from APC to PDP, issued a quick response through his Senior Special Adviser on Media, Mr Yusuf Olaniyonu, mocking the claims of the APC national chairman. Olaniyonu said that Kwara people were too sophisticated to be dictated to by outsiders.

Oshiomhole’s assertions were contained in a statement yesterday by his chief press secretary, Mr Simon Ebegbulem. The statement quoted the APC national chairman as saying that reclaiming Kwara from Saraki’s domination “is a task that must be accomplished.”

Addressing the Kwara delegation, Oshiomhole said, “When I was saying that all these defections is not about APC but the personal ambition of these people, they took hired writers to say I was being too hard. But Saraki’s declaration has vindicated me. Thank God, he has moved on because his inordinate ambition was almost destroying our party, but he has failed.

“These are not principled politicians but bread and butter politicians who can go extra miles to pursue their selfish ambition and never think about the well-being of Nigerians.”

He advised APC members in Kwara State to close ranks and work towards ending the reign of Saraki in Kwara politics as the country head towards 2019.

In a swift reaction, however, the Senate president described Oshiomhole’s statement as mere wishful thinking. Saraki’s senior special adviser on media stated regarding Oshiomhole’s claims, “He can continue to day-dream about Kwara. We assure him that he will have so many states to struggle to keep in 2019, including Edo State, that Kwara will be the least of his concerns. This man who talks more than he thinks will soon find out that Kwara people are too sophisticated to be dictated to by outsiders.”

Speaking on efforts to reposition the Kwara State chapter of APC, Oshiomhole said he had formed a committee made up of two deputy national chairmen to work with the National Organising Secretary and the Vice Chairman (North-central) to put in place new party executives in the state.

The statement quoted him as saying, “The last time I spoke with the minister he told me we have accomplished 80 or 85 per cent, that for me is not good enough because we don’t have more time. So this week, we must achieve hundred per cent by whatever means. If you can’t do it, we have to help you get it done.

“I am very impressed with the enthusiasm of the people of Kwara State. They are experiencing a new dawn, a new sense of freedom and a sense of ownership of the APC where we are trying to do bottom up rather than top down.

“Where we have politics of inclusion, no godfather, everybody matters. Now I superintended over the liquidation of godfathers in Edo state, now I will not be here and allow and support the emergence of a new godfather.

“When we vanquished the godfathers we created a level playing field for equal opportunity to participate and that is what I think we have achieved so far and we need to take full advantage of that to do what needs to be done for us to get on with the job of organising, mobilising. I believe all of us, the APC leadership, we are anxious to come to Kwara State to interface with the great people of Kwara State, beyond llorin, to other major cities in Kwara.

“Let them know and carry the message of change and use the broom to sweep away the past, including the thorn umbrella. The task of sweeping away the past and rebuilding a new Kwara is a task that must be done. That should give you the energy, the incentive and the appropriate spirit to work together so that victory will be ours, not for our own good but for the good of the great people of Kwara State who have been oppressed for such a long, long time. Like they say, there can be many days for the thief, one day for the owner.”

BIG STORY

Minimum Wage: States’ll Go Bankrupt If We Pay N30,000 —– Governors

Peter Okunoren

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Governors of the 36 states of the federation under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) have said states cannot afford to pay the proposed N30,000 minimum wage.

The NGF chairman and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, told newsmen that it was impractical to implement the N30,000 minimum without states going into bankruptcy.

He said the only alternative to paying the N30,000 minimum wage was for the Federal Government to accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula or to downsize workforce.

The governors who met, yesterday in Abuja, have therefore, resolved to put together another committee to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to work out another formula to address the issue.

The members of the committee to see President Buhari are Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna).

President Buhari last week Tuesday received the report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage.

The committee which recommended N30,000 as the new national minimum wage also submitted a draft bill that will be sent to the National Assembly. Organised Labour has given December date as deadline for all processes leading to the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage else they will embark on another round of strike.

But speaking after an emergency meeting of the NGF, Governor Yari: “We have seen what has been presented to the president by the committee; as a member of the committee, Kebbi governor said the committee did not take our submission of N22,500 because it came late. I am surprised how you can do this without the input of the states, because the states are the key stakeholders in this business. So, a situation whereby our report is not taken or considered by the tripartite committee to present to the president, I don’t know how the committee wants us to work.

“But we still say we want to pay but the issue is the ability to pay. The N18,000 today, when the president assumed office, 27 states were not able to pay; not that they choose not to pay. So, now that you say N30,000, how many of them can pay? We will be bankrupt. As Nigerians, we should look at the issue seriously. While other people are saying that governors are flying private jets and living in affluence, that one is not luxury but compulsory.

“The issue of government overhead cost, if you put it together with personnel cost, it cannot solve this problem. Like Lagos that is paying about N7 billion as salaries, if you say it should pay N30,000, now it will be N13 billion. From our calculation, it is only Lagos State that will be able to pay N30,000. As Nigerians, there is no other country we have and we should be fair to this country.”

Asked the way forward, Yari said: “We will continue to talk with Labour, let them see reasons why governors have difficulties. Some of us have Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). For instance, the money Lagos State is using to pay is not coming from Abuja. They have a way of getting their money from IGR and that is why they can afford to pay. Lagos gets money through VAT. Apart from Lagos, even Rivers cannot afford to pay. So, we have been crying out about this since 2011 but no one will listen. One critical example is that some state ration their salaries while others put everything they earn on the table and ask labour to come and see and ask them to suggest how much should go for capital and personnel cost. Some say 70 percent for personnel cost and 30 percent for capital projects, yet the states cannot pay and they put the remaining as outstanding.

“If you are talking about oil, the price is not what it used to be. From last year to date, it is $20 less from $75 to $55. So where is the money to pay? We should not exploit this matter further. We are leaders today, tomorrow others will be there. So let us look at this matter seriously to see how we can do it properly. It is our primary responsibility to see that everybody is happy.”

When reminded that part of Labour’s grouse was that governors have refused to submit audited account, the NGF chairman said: “We have given the committee audited account of the states to guide them. But if they put the audited account for the past 10-14 years, can you get something out of it? We are going to use the report of the audited committee to make further presentation. It is the same labour that is pushing for the N30,000 that will still turn around to say that the governors did not do any infrastructure. How are we going to achieve that by paying only salaries?”

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BIG STORY

Orange Drugs CEO Builds Luxury Home, Rivals Tinubu’s Mansion On Bourdillon [PHOTOS]

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The home of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is certainly the most known on Bourdillon Road in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Now a new mansion on the road will henceforth be competing for attention with that of Asiwaju Tinubu.

The house is owned by Sir Tony Ezenna, the 61-year-old Chairman of Orange Drugs Limited, a pharmaceutical company in Lagos.

Ezenna did the housewarming at the weekend and opened the even more luxurious interior for his guests to rejoice with him.

Many politicians were there, including Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige; Senators Andy Ubah, Dino Melaye and Hope Uzodinma.

The pictures of the house have been trending in the social media ever since.

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BIG STORY

FG Serves Roadside Ladipo Market Auto Parts Dealers Eviction Notice

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The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Adedamola Kuti, on Tuesday issued final eviction warning to auto spare parts dealers at the popular Ladipo Market in Lagos, trading on its Right of Way.

Kuti also served final notices on car dealers on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway during a RoW recovery tour by the ministry.

While inspecting the Ladipo Market, he warned spare parts dealers who displayed their wares on the road set back to desist from the act and trade only inside the market.

He also warned auto mechanics using the highway in front of the market as workshops to vacate immediately to avoid being victims of government action.

Kuti said that the traders usually used their wares to block the highway and engaged in street trading, thereby creating an obstruction and causing gridlock.

He said: “We are just recovering our RoW. We are not here to disturb anybody’s business but individual businesses should not disturb other road users.

“The road is not part of the market. The market is right inside; go inside and transact business.’’

Kuti said that the ministry had served earlier notices on the traders to vacate the RoW and was giving them a final warning before the government would move in to enforce sanctions.

He said: “We are not here to disturb anybody’s business. The road is not for trading; they should go into the market to do transactions.’’

Jude Nwankwo, President-General, Ladipo Central Executive Auto Dealers Association, promised that the association was going to ensure total compliance by its members.

He said: “We have promised to comply and there must be a free flow of traffic here.”

Nwankwo said that the association was going to shut down the market on Friday till noon to clean it in order to address sanitation concerns raised by the controller’s team.

He appealed to the Lagos State Government to construct a pedestrian bridge and car park for the market operators to save lives and reduce hardship on road users and customers to the market.

During the tour of car dealers’ shops on both carriageways of the Lagos Ibadan-Expressway, Kuti appealed to the various companies to comply with the directive and remove cars parked on road setbacks for sale.

He said: “We have warned you that you should leave the highway. We are already expanding this road and we do not want this obstruction on our highway.
“Please leave before we come and evacuate the cars.”

The controller said that “Federal Government RoW is 150ft, about 50 meters from the center of the highway’’.

Kuti said that the contract for the rehabilitation and expansion of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was ongoing and the ministry did not want obstruction to the project.

He said: “We have warned them; they have been issued letters and now, this is going to be a final warning.

“The next time we come, we are coming to enforce the law.

“They cannot continue to do business on a busy highway, it is unacceptable.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Lagos State Ministry of Environment had marked all the auto shops after the Otedola Bridge on Ibadan-bound carriageway on the expressway for demolition.

NAN reports that some of the car dealers were remorseful, rendered apologies and promised to move their cars from the highway, while others insisted that they did not get previous notices served.

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