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Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has reacted to Saturday’s visit of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing it as a coming together of collaborators in the total annihilation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The governor said it was on record that both Obasanjo and Sheriff collaborated to destroy the All Nigerians Peoples Party (ANPP) and that their meeting today must be to further collaborate to destroy the PDP.

Governor Fayose, who reacted to the visit through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said:

“Sheriff can as well begin to sleep in Obasanjo’s house, it is good riddance to bad rubbish.”

The governor said; “since Obasanjo is no longer a member of the PDP and he has consistently maintained that he can never return to the PDP, only those in the same league with him can go about visiting him.”

He said it was hypocritical and deceitful for Sheriff to have said he went to see Obasanjo to seek advice on the way forward for the PDP because he (Obasanjo) was among those made the PDP to lose the presidency, despite that no one benefited from the party more than him.

Governor Fayose said Sheriff only visited Obasanjo as part of his plot with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to destroy the PDP, adding that “no genuine lover of the PDP will go to the house of a man who openly destroyed his PDP membership card and worked assiduously to ensure the party’s failure in the 2015 presidential election to seek advice on how the way forward for the PDP.”

He reiterated his call to Nigerians to beware of Obasanjo, saying “The result of Obasanjo’s imposition of President Muhammadu Buhari on the country is the hunger and sufferings that Nigerians are facing now.”

BIG STORY

Reps Panel Recommends Urgent Acquisition Of New Aircraft For Tinubu, Shettima

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The house of representatives committee on national security and intelligence has asked the federal government to purchase new aircraft for President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

President Bola Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima should get new planes, according to a request made to the federal government by the House of Representatives committee on national security and intelligence.

The committee’s report, which was made public following its examination into the condition of the aircraft in the presidential air fleet, included its suggestion.

“The committee is of the strong and informed opinion that, considering the fragile structure of the Nigerian federation and recognising the dire consequences of any foreseen or unforeseen mishap that may arise as a result of the technical or operational inadequacy of the presidential air fleet, it is in the best interest of the country to procure two additional aircraft as recommended,” the report reads.

“This will also prove to be most cost-efficient in the long run, apart from the added advantage of providing a suitable, comfortable, and safe carrier befitting of the status and responsibilities of the office of the president and vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

In May, the house of representatives mandated the committee to conduct a “comprehensive investigation” into the aircraft in the presidential fleet to ascertain their airworthiness and technical status.

The house resolution was sequel to a motion sponsored by Satomi Ahmed, chairman of the house committee.

There was a heated debate on the floor of house when the motion was moved.

Some lawmakers suggested that the president should travel via commercial aircraft or by road.

Ahmed’s motion followed reports of faulty aircraft in the presidential air fleet, forcing the president to use a chartered plane from the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia during his recent trip abroad.

Shettima had also cancelled his trip to the United States due to a fault with his aircraft.

The vice-president was to represent Tinubu at the 2024 US-Africa business summit.

On May 20, the committee met with O. Oyesola, commandant of the presidential air fleet, over the matter.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, Ahmed said the committee would set up a technical committee to interface with the officials at the presidential air fleet and come up with a resolution.

It was gathered that the sub-committee, after engaging the presidential air fleet officials, recommended that new aircraft be purchased for Tinubu and Shettima.

The sub-committee’s recommendation was adopted by the committee.

According to the report, the presidential fleet consists of six aircraft and six helicopters.

The aircraft include one Boeing 737 (19 years old, currently unserviceable and undergoing maintenance); one Gulfstream G550 (13 years old, in good condition), one Gulfstream GV (23 years old, unserviceable); two Falcon 7Xs (one serviceable, one unserviceable); and one Challenger CL605 (12 years old, serviceable).

The helicopter fleet includes two Agusta 139s (17 and 18 years old, both unserviceable) and four Agusta 189s (no information on their condition).

The report was signed by Ahmed and Makwe Eric, clerk of the committee.

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President Tinubu To Receive Bill Proposing Return To Regional Government Friday

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Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will, on Friday (today), receive a draft bill seeking a return to a regional system of government for Nigeria.

Authored by a chieftain of the Yoruba socio-cultural association, Afenifere, Akin Fapohunda, the proposed legislation titled, “A Bill for an Act to substitute the annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with New Governance Model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria’, seeks among others, new extant laws to be cited as “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.”

Earlier reports had it that the said bill was disowned by the House of Representatives whose spokesman, Akin Rotimi, and the Chairman, Committee on Rules and Business said had not been listed for deliberation in the ongoing moves to review the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

However, Fapohunda on Thursday said that the bill would be transmitted to the President on Friday.

“I’m submitting my letter (draft bill) today but I will wait for seven days before releasing it to the public,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fapohunda who also represents the Coalition of Indigenous Ethnic Nationalities said that the organisation is proposing the division of the country into eight geo-political regions with approximate interim boundaries.

According to Fapohunda, the proposed regions include the southern region to be made up of Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, and Cross Rivers States and “Optional inclusions of the Annang, Effik, Ekoi, Ibibio, Oro Ohaji/Egbema in Southern Imo, the Adonia, Efemia, Ijaw, Ogoni, Bini, Ishan, Isoko, Urhobo and the Ijaw-speaking people in Northern Ondo State with land contiguity.”

He continued, “The South Eastern region consists of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States. The Western region comprises Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, and Ekiti States, incorporating the Yoruba-speaking people in Kogi and the Igbomina people in Kwara State. Additional options would be the Itsekiri people of Delta State and Akoko-Edo people of Edo State to make their respective choices.”

Others include the Mid-Western Region “Made up of Edo and Delta States, possibly incorporating the Anioma people and the Eastern Middle Belt Region comprising Northern Cross River, Southern Kaduna, Southern Borno, Adamawa, Benue, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa and Taraba States.”

The Western Middle Belt Region comprises Southern Kebbi, parts of Kwara and Niger States while the North Eastern Region will be made up of parts of Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Yobe States.

The North Western Region, according to the Afenifere chieftain, comprises Kaduna, parts of Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara States.

Fapohunda said the coalition envisaged a two-tier government, federal and regions, adding that the latter would be at liberty to manage her affairs, “Including the creation of sub-entities, based on the stipulations that are agreed upon and embedded in their respective constitutions.”

In its proposed governance stipulations, CIEN stated that “In the quest for re-configuration and downsizing, an option to consider might be to retain the present boundaries of the 36 States, as would have been adjusted, but to creatively downgrade the paraphernalia of political administration as follows:

“To introduce a new regional government framework with executive and legislative functions and bodies with the headship title of Premier.

“In the new dispensation, the present States (for example the six in the Western region) would be converted to provinces. Governance at this level shall be by Provincial Councils that integrate executive and legislative functions, with Chairman and Support Specialist Administrative Officers. The regions shall be at liberty to create provinces, subject to viability and self-sustainability.

“The present Local Government Areas are to be transformed into divisions, with divisional managers and specialist administrative officers; to operate as socio-economic development institutions. The new provinces shall also be at liberty to create divisions, subject to viability and self-sustainability.”

The coalition also proposed a new constitution to embody novelties including freedom of the regions to “Create, merge and or re-configure their sub-political units and may adopt provinces, divisions or districts as may suit their circumstances without interference from any other authority.

“Regions and sub-regional entities are to be reconfigured such as would reduce the cost of public and civil service administration to less than 20 to 30 per cent of generated revenue.

“In drafting their Constitutions, the peoples of the respective regional territories will take a cue and also dismantle any arrangement or configuration that will favour the politicians and the political class; with a focus on freeing resources for true development.

“A uni-camera federal legislature comprising members that are elected at the discretion of the regions for which they would be representatives at Abuja.

“Decentralization of federal power in favour of not more than 10 regions on which there is a general national consensus, rather than the presently unwieldy number of 36 States. These old States are inconsequential indeed in being a viable unit of a truly federal system of government.”

In all, the coalition proposes that the Federal Government “Shall comprise not more than nine Ministries and Ministers,” adding that “The very big United States has just 15 Cabinet Ministers, while Nigeria is not even up to just a State of Texas or New York.”

The group is also advocating a return to the parliamentary mode system of government “Built-in statutory rotation of headship among the regions.”

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Anambra Governor Soludo Backs Single Term For Politicians, Rejects LG Autonomy

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The executive governor of Anambra State, Chukwuma Soludo on Wednesday threw his weight behind the growing calls for a single term for elected officeholders but he argued that any form of autonomy for local government areas in the country is against the tenets of true federalism.

Due to the nation’s declining revenue, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Solomon Odunwa, advocated for a National Assembly with only one chamber.

Soludo, who served as the CBN’s governor from 2004 to 2009, delivered a speech at The Platform Nigeria, an event organised by Covenant Nation, a church in Lagos, in honour of 2024 Democracy Day.

Other speakers at the event, which had the theme “Democracy and the Free Market Economy,” included former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, former Minister of Works Babatunde Fashola, and the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan-Kukah.

“Sometimes, these conversations about single term might begin to make some sense so that you fix it, whether you say four years or five years, six years, seven years, single term,” Soludo said.

“So, you are not thinking about the next election once you finish getting into this. I face that all day in my state. You want to get into this (project), they say, ‘No, wait, you know you have an election’. And I say, ‘No, let’s get it, if we get there, we get there and if we lose, we lose.”

  • LG Autonomy Anti-True Federalism

There have been increased calls for local government autonomy in Nigeria. President Bola Tinubu has also supported the calls and in May the Federal Government sued the 36 state governors over alleged misconduct in the administration of Local Government Areas.

Governor Soludo, however, has a different view.

He said, “Funny enough, more recently, some people are arguing for the autonomy of local governments including some APC persons, which would take Nigeria back many decades from what a true federation is about.

“There is no federal system in the world where you have three federal units. The counties in America where we copied (democracy), their local governments don’t go to the centre to collect money directly.

“Each state must have the power to design the kind of local government system they want. That is what true federalism is about.”

Soludo said the Federal Government should give some of the responsibilities in the Exclusive List to sub-nationals.

“We need to tinker with the fiscal powers of the federal and state governments, devolve much of the responsibilities under the Exclusive List to the states, and at about 60 to 65 percent of the revenues to the states, with each deciding on the local system to adopt.

“Why not consolidate the National Assembly into one with no more than five representatives per state? We don’t need a National Assembly costing over N300bn yearly to maintain. We don’t need it,” he said.

  • Tinubu Should Clear Economic Mess

The Anambra governor admitted that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not cause the country’s economic problems. Rather, he believes that Nigeria is feeling the effects of poor actions and inactions of administrations since 1999.

“We are now suffering the consequences of delayed adjustments,” he said, adding that Tinubu has “the historic duty to mobilise Nigerians to clean up the mess for future generations.

“Nigeria faces fiscal quagmire and even technical solvency problems. Debt has piled to a level that leaves little headroom for more borrowing albeit at a very high cost. Yet, the needs of the citizens keep increasing in geometric proportion by the day.”

The governor warned that printing more money would lead to spiraling inflation.

“We are in a bind and must get out of it,” he said.

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