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I’m Politically Wiser Now, No More A Technocrat But A Politician —- Ambode

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Outgoing Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode seems to have learnt a lot from his failed attempt to pick the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket for a second tenure.

The governor, who spoke to State House correspondents yesterday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said he used to see himself as a technocrat, but the time he spent in office has changed his perception.

Ambode said: “You see, every politician learns every day. The fact remains that I came in as a technocrat. So, I use to call myself a techno-politician, but I think I am wiser now. I am more of a politician than a technocrat.”

On his visit to Villa, Ambode said it was just to say thank you to the President for his visit Lagos, where he (Buhari) inaugurated some projects.

On what he would want to be remembered for after leaving office, he said: “Well, in another 16 days or so we will be leaving office, but what is important is that I was able to have that opportunity to be elected as Lagos State governor and to touch humanity in a way that I deem it fit.

“We did our best and most importantly the projects we did were people-friendly and people-centred. I just think a lot more people have enjoyed the benefits and dividends of democracy than we actually met it. And that gives me joy that we were able to touch lives.

“Wherever you find yourself, just make a positive difference to people and Nigerians. That is the whole essence of service. I’m grateful that I had that opportunity.”

BIG STORY

Blood On His Hands! Ex-CBN Director’s Son Kills Daughter Of Retired Air Vice Marshal, Six Others

Peter Okunoren

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A Medical Doctor who has been identified as Femi Babatunde Oni, has reportedly killed seven persons, including the daughter of retired Air Vice Marshal J.A. Mbaka, Saratu Luga Mbaka, in an apparent road rage in Abuja, The Eagle Online reports.

The incident reportedly happened in the early hours of May 18, 2019.

It was gathered that Oni, an in-law of the popular Igbinedion family of Edo State and son of a former Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sam Oni, drove out of a building along CBN/Sahad Stores road in Abuja that Saturday.

According to available information, the Medical Doctor had a female passenger with him in the car who was struggling for the steering with him.

In the process, he was said to have knocked down and killed three persons jogging along the road.

However, he did not stop.

Sources said while Oni was being chased by the police, he hit the green taxi in which Mbaka was riding alongside others.

Three passengers in the taxi were reported to have died on the spot, while Mbaka and the driver were taken to the National Hospital in Abuja unconscious.

However, Mbaka, 34, passed on that same day, while the driver remained in coma in the Intensive Care Unit of the National Hospital as at press time.

The police were to later apprehend Oni, whose identity they refused to disclose.

This has fuelled suspicion of a cover up.

A family source told The Eagle Online that Oni, a graduate of the University of Ilorin, has prevailed on the police authorities not to prosecute him but offered to compensate the families of the deceased.

Mbaka’s father is said to be a retired Nigerian Air Force pilot.

He is among those who survived his daughter.

Others are her children, mother, brothers and sisters.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Deputy Commissioner of Police Frank Mba, was not available for comment as at press time.

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Sanwo-Olu Speaks On His Cabinet, Promises Not To Abandon Ambode’s Project, To Make Appointments Within 90 Days

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Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor-elect of Lagos state, has disclosed the kind of people that will make it into his cabinet.

Speaking with select journalists in Lagos on Thursday, the incoming governor said only those who have shared vision with him and Obafemi Hamzat, his deputy, will make it into his government.

He promised to hit the ground running, promising to run an inclusive government.

“There are so many intelligent people in Lagos. It’s just for us to identify them. Some could work full time, some part time, others could be technocrats or politicians but the bottom line is for us to identify square pegs into square holes and round pegs into round holes. That’s number one” he said.

“Number two, those who would work with Dr Hamzat and I must share our vision. They have to be on the same page with us from day one. The moment a politician or technocrat is appointed, he or she should see himself as a commissioner or staff adviser of Lagos, not for a sect or an area or jurisdiction.

“We are out to empower the people of Lagos state… These are the basic things, we will not compromise. Femi and I have been on this journey for the past eight or nine months. So, immediately we come on board, we will organise a crash course for them (cabinet members) to see where we are going. The moment we all see a common vision, it will be easier for us to drive a common agenda. But I can say Lagosians will be happy with us when we finally bring out those names.”

‘I’ll MAKE MAJOR APPOINTMENTS WITHIN 90 DAYS’

The governor-elect said he would make all the major appointments of his government within three months.

He also spoke about his plans to tackle traffic which is a major problem in the state.

“In the first 90 days or so, we are hoping that we would have a working government in all the cabinets, all of the major appointments that we need to have, we would have them running very quickly,” he said.

“We should begin to see huge solutions in our traffic management. I mean there will be some that we would have solved, there would be some that would still be working on because we are going into a rainy season and when it’s raining, for instance, you can’t pour concrete.

“So, some of those issues will come up. But in terms of the design, identifying those corridors that would need traffic improvement, we would have done all of that. In terms of places where we need to improve and increase waste management solution, we would have done all that.

“Like I have also said, the solution of Apapa gridlock. I am believing that we would have solved it as promised but the sustenance of it is another issue. So, sustaining what we solved is key. It’s going to cost us some money to ensure that people are on ground to ensure that the situation doesn’t get bad again but those are the things we need to do.

“In terms of infrastructure, before the end of the year, you will see our road plan in terms of which road, which bridges we would need to complete in the next two or three years.”

‘EVERYBODY HAS A ROLE TO PLAY’

Asked what he plans to do differently in government, Sanwo-Olu said: “I really don’t know if a man in his 50s would change how he dresses but my style would be to be very humble, transparent, accessible and to be very engaging.

“Let people have a voice, let them have a say. You might not necessarily have your way, but you can have your say. Everybody has a role… it is only if you don’t have any business here and you creating a security challenge for us that you won’t be guided by the style. Other than that, the style would remain to be the governor of everybody.”

On the resources of the state, Sanwo-Olu said no matter how much is in the treasury, it cannot be enough because the challenges are numerous.

COMPLETING INHERITTED PROJECTS

The outgoing governor exchanging pleasantries with the man who will succeed him on Wednesday

However, he promised that his administration would find a creative way to get revenue for its projects.

The governor-elect also promised to put finishing touches to some of the projects which Akinwunmi Ambode, the outgoing governor, is yet to complete.

“No matter how the situation is, money will never be enough but we cannot continue to give money as an excuse not to work,” he said.

“There are creative ways by which you can finance, manage all of the things you want to do, for as long as you are right and people can see the charge out, money will look for you. Money will move to people who need it the most.

“In terms of completion of projects of the outgoing government, oh yes, we will complete them because what doesn’t get completed, wasn’t done in the first place. So, we will ensure that we do that and there shouldn’t be any problem.

“Given my sense of understanding of government, it is a continuum, anyhow it is, we really cannot begin to give excuses. Just go out there go fix it, that is the way it is. Wherever it is that things are wrong, we can make it better, quicker, that is what we have promised.”

The Cable

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Why I Refused To Sack My Ministers —- Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his decision to retain cabinet ministers in the last three and half years in spite of pressures from some quarters was because of their unique skills, strengths, and leadership qualities.

The president made this known during a valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.

He observed that the ministers, who exhibited spirit of team work, were more rational in taking decisions aimed at tackling the numerous challenges facing the country.

President Buhari described the cabinet members as “a reflection of the Nigeria we aspire to achieve.”

“You will recall that when we started this journey, our country was facing numerous challenges.

“We inherited a broken economy which eventually went into recession in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2016.

“The situation was further compounded by insecurity and massive corruption.

“Many would have given up. Indeed, many outside commentators said our situation was well-nigh hopeless.

However, we all came together and pushed forward to deliver our campaign promise to rescue our country from its parlous state.

“Although we all had a common vision, we frequently had heated debates in this room on the best way to achieve our goals. These differing views are what made the decisions we took all the more rational.

“It is this quality that made me retain my cabinet for the full term. Each of you in this room has a unique skill and strength.

“We are a reflection of the Nigeria we aspire to achieve – A diverse but tolerant nation where no one is silenced and where every opinion should be heard and considered.’’

President Buhari, who thanked the ministers for agreeing to serve the nation, urged them to be happy for contributing their quota in various ways to the development of the nation.

`I want you all to leave this meeting proud to have served your nation to the best of your ability.

“You should be proud to have been part of the government that liberated the local governments previously under Boko Haram rule.

“You should be proud to have contributed to our food security and economic diversification agenda which led to the revival of our rural agrarian economy

“You should be proud to have been part of the team that developed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which led Nigeria exiting its worst recession in decades.

“You should be proud to have introduced the social investment programme that enhanced livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.

“You should be proud to have participated in settling outstanding pensions of many senior citizens abandoned by previous governments while supporting state governments to meet their salary arrears.

“And of course, you should all be proud to have overseen the most ambitious road, rail and airport rehabilitation programmes in the history of our country,’’ the president added.

According to the president, the ministers’ achievements within the period had guaranteed their position in the history books of the nation.

He maintained that the ministers had succeeded in building the foundations for an improved economy and a more purposeful government.

The president, therefore, directed all ministers to remain in office until May 28.

“Although today is our last council meeting, I expect all of you to continue working until Tuesday, May 28, 2019 when you will officially hand over your schedules to your respective Permanent Secretaries.

“Your handing over letters should be submitted to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,’’ he said.

In his remarks, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo thanked President Buhari for trusting him with various responsibilities, especially when he acted as president.

He said “My deepest gratitude comes from the great trust that you reposed in me at all times.

“I will never forget when you were going on medical leave in May 2017 and you said to me in the course of conversation that evening that you would not meddle in my discretion as acting President in anyway.

“And in keeping with your character and style you kept your words.”

Earlier, the ministers, who took turns to recount their experiences lauded President Buhari’s humility, integrity and hard work.

They expressed appreciation for his kind gesture and pledged to do more for the country when called upon to serve the nation.

The president and the out-going ministers later had a group photograph, as the cabinet members prepare to bow out of office on May 28.

(NAN)

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