Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on Nigerians to serve and protect human dignity for the development of the nation.
While addressing participants at the 14th National convention of the Lions Club in Abeokuta on Thursday, Obasanjo challenged leaders at all levels to step up in their efforts at ensuring better quality service delivery.
“As citizens of this nation, we are called to serve. We are called to protect and assist people, advocate for human rights and ensure that the dignity of every man and woman is protected,” he said.
While stressing that the nation faces developmental challenges, the former president, therefore, charged the Federal Government and the masses to be alive to their responsibilities of advancing the country’s growth and development.
“For decades, the answer to solving these challenges would have been the government. While the leadership at all level carries a huge part of providing a solution through better and quality service, this answer must change.
“We all have responsibilities when it comes to rendering service to those who need service. We should all be part of the solution to the challenge facing us,” he stated.
Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has decried the poor state of infrastructure in the South-East, saying that previous governments have not been fair to the region.
In a recent interview on Channels Television’s Roadmap 2019, the governor blamed the infrastructure deficit on the perceived abandonment of the region.
“Successive Federal Governments, this one inclusive, have not been fair to the South East. For instance, if I want to go to Aba from Port Harcourt today, it is unfortunate that I will have to go through Muangwa that would take me two and half hours, whereas it is a journey of 45 mins,” he said.
According to the governor, if the inter-states routes are rescued from their poor state, commercial activities will thrive.
He also stated that if the roads, specifically the Aba-Port Harcourt expressway are repaired, the state would collaborate with the Rivers State Government in installing street lights which he believes would reduce the activities of armed robbers who take advantage of the situation.
“Assuming somebody returns from America with his family and wants to go to Enugu, if unfortunately, he leaves Aba at 7:00 pm, in an hour 30 minutes, that person cannot make that journey alive because you will get to a point where you wouldn’t know and then you have to give a retreat.
“The hoodlums are there, people that will capture you and lay an ambush. And this is a journey of 45 mins. I would have told Governor Wike (of Rivers State) to collaborate with me so that we can do street light on that road to extend business hours,” he said.
Mr Ikpeazu also spoke on his administration’s achievement in reviving the education sector saying that the state government has built over 350 ultra-modern schools within the past three years.
Beyond that, he said the state has recorded improved performance in the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examinations (WAEC) since 2015.
The governor further stated that his administration launched the school feeding programme for both teachers and pupils even before the Federal Government started the policy.
President Muhammadu Buhari says there is no development without stability, as development is usually the first casualty in an unstable polity.
The President made the declaration on Wednesday when he received President Adama Barrow of The Gambia at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
“The best route to national development is stability,” he said in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina. “When a country is not stable, you spend most of your financial resources on security.”
“That is the money that should have gone into education, infrastructure, and generating employment for the people, particularly youths,” President Buhari added.
He congratulated Mr Barrow for stabilising The Gambia after his emergence as president after the impasse when his immediate predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, initially refused to vacate office after losing the presidential election in December 2016.
In his response, The Gambian President thanked President Buhari for the role Nigeria played in helping his country return to the path of constitutional democracy.
He also congratulated the Nigerian President on his emergence as the new Chairman of ECOWAS.
Barrow noted that he was the first foreign leader to visit Abuja after the development.
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the interest rate given on agricultural loans.
Obasanjo disclosed this during an entrepreneurial programme in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. He also says the current rate will slow the pace of development in the sector.
He said, “America’s agriculture was developed on an interest of two and half percent. Central Bank should act as the catalyst and they can do it. There are few countries that progress without taking Agriculture seriously. The way the Central bank is going is not the way. ”
The Emir Of Kano, Emir Muhammad Sanusi II has emphasised the importance of state governors in national growth and development saying, development is now driven by cities and not by the Federation.
Speaking in Kaduna, during the commissioning of an integrated Feed Mill and Poultry valued at N150million, the Emir said state governors need to encourage private investment in their states as they are far more important wheel of development than the Federal Government.
“The governors are far more important wheel of development in Nigeria than the Federal Government. The only way to bring development to the grassroot is for every governor to go out internationally and locally, encourage private investment and create jobs in the state.
“This is not to say the Federal Government is not important, just as I am pleased to see the Governor of Central Bank and the Ministers here. Clearly, the state operates with a macro environment.
“So, constant dialogue and constant discussions between state and the Federal Government to create the right environment for the governors to go out and seek investment is essential for the development of this country,” he said.
Sanusi also said the commissioning represents “the cutting edge of development thinking. Which is that development is now being driven by cities and not by the Federation. Everywhere in the world, it is the city of New York, the city Atlanta, the city of Chicago, the city of London, the city of Paris, the city of Tokyo.”
The former governor of CBN also appreciated Olam Grains Nigeria for the huge investment which is an avenue of jobs creation. “I am happy at the number of jobs that will be created directly and indirectly.”
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has reiterated that his vision for the state is to build and promote critical infrastructure.
This, he believes would create a conducive environment for investments to thrive in order to encourage meaningful engagement of Deltans, most especially the youth, upon whom the future lies.
Okowa stated that the vision is all encompassing in his administration’s SMART Agenda.
According to him, this has initiated an economic development approach aimed at integrating the entire landmass of the state through good network of roads that link communities and cities across the three senatorial districts of the state.
The Governor who was represented by the state Commissioner of Information, Mr Patrick Ukah, disclosed this during the 4th biennial public lecture of the Enuani Democratic League (EDL), which took place at Ejeme-Aniogor in Aniocha South Local Government Area of the State.
In his words: “Our vision is to achieve sustainable development by building necessary infrastructure and creating the conducive atmosphere that would encourage investments and the meaningful engagement of our people, especially the youths to whom the future really belongs.
“Our economic development approach aims at integrating the state through good network of roads that link communities and cities across the state.
“This will also include the building of a befitting state capital. It is our goal to see that the completion of on-going projects across the length and breadth of the state is to give nerve and impetus to commerce”.
He however called on all Deltans to encourage investors and also contribute their quota in the task of developing the state, assuring that the state government would continue to encourage and assist genuine investors, who are out to serve as agents of positive social and economic change.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that issues of development must always receive priority attention despite political differences.
Speaking at the Government House, Port Harcourt, the state capital, Wike said, placing development above partisanship would enhance the partnership between the Federal and State Governments to transform the country.
This comes as the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, described Governor Wike as an action governor, who should lead the way in the implementation of the Employment Compensation Act, brought about by the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
The act according to him, would make it mandatory for employers to take care of the fundamental insurance needs of workers in the area of death, accident and emergency health needs.
He said this during a courtesy visit to the governor.
Mr Wike lauded the Minister for standing out in his leadership style, by setting aside politics to liaise with the Rivers State Government on the development of a credible insurance scheme for State Government workers.
He said: “the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has always shown maturity. A lot of people don’t differentiate between party politics and governance.”
Furthermore, he informed the Labour Minister that the Rivers state Government gives priority attention to the welfare of workers and pensioners, hence it is up to date in terms of salaries and pensions.
Wike gave an assurance that the state Government will study and buy into the NSITF programme, under the Employment Compensation Act.
Earlier, Mr Ngige had described political parties as vehicles to specific destinations where leaders are empowered to enthrone development.
According to him, the existence of political parties should not affect the delivery of developmental projects.
“Just as President Muhammadu Buhari is the father of the nation, so is Governor Wike of Rivers State, irrespective of political affiliation.
The State Coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps, Yobe State, said they are ready to supply the state with the required manpower that will accelerate development after the invasion by extremist group Boko Haram.
The NYSC Coordinator, Mr Abubakar Mohammed, also said the scheme will solidly support the rebuilding process, as relative peace returns to the North East.
Mr Mohammed, who recalled the role the scheme has played in the development of the state over the years, assured that with improved peace, NYSC will supply the needed manpower that will help.
He revealed that most of the stories being heard about the Northeast are not true and urged intending corps members to come and contribute to the development of the state and called on employers of labour to provide the enabling environment for the corps members.
The Coordinator said since he assumed duty in the state, the number of corps members serving in the state has not been encouraging but at the moment, the number has risen appreciably to over 1000.
Some corps members serving in the state recounted their experiences and applauded their decision to serve their fatherland in the troubled state.
They called on other corps members to accept their postings to Yobe so as to contribute their quota in rebuilding the state, which is relatively peaceful at the moment.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan along with his entourage has kicked off his holy pilgrimage to Israel with a tour of some holy sites in Jerusalem.
The tour was used as a rededication by the President to the development of the country.
The President also took time to tour the holy sites within the walls of old Jerusalem.
The walk down the way of the cross in particular was used by the president to make supplications on behalf of the country.
On the first day, the tour started with a visit to the garden of Gethsemani, the Upper Room in Mount Zion and the Church of St. Peters, where Peter was said to have denied Jesus.
Supplications were made in Chapels to mark every holy site by Christian Ministers, as they prayed for the President, as well as the unity and continued existence of the country back home.
The second day of President Jonathan’s tour started with the Wailing Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem and the President was received by the Rabbi of the Wall, who led the pilgrims to offer supplications.
President Jonathan was led afterwards to the tunnels underneath the Wall to the Station of the Cross, which marked Jesus’ travails from the seat of Pontus Pilate to the Calvary.
The journey ended at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with President Jonathan offering prayers at every station along the way.
The experience no doubt awakens the sense of sacrifice in officials in the President’s entourage and perhaps an obligation to leave their country better for the next generation.
It will be recalled that the President left Nigeria for the year’s holy pilgrimage on Thursday 23rd October.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Reuben Abati, the President will also be meeting with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset.
There will also be talks between President Jonathan’s delegation and the Israeli government officials, with a focus on the enhancement of bilateral relations between Nigeria and Israel in areas of trade, economic development, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, communications, culture, education and tourism.
According to the statement, President Jonathan will also be meeting with the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas.
Those among the entourage of the President on the holy pilgrimage are Senator Emmanuel Paulker, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, the Minister of Works, Arc. Mike Onolememen, the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Prof Viola Onwuliri, and the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.
The President, who is expected to be back in the country next week, may meet and interact with some other Nigerians who are already in Israel for the holy pilgrimage.
President Goodluck Jonathan has assured the international community that his administration will continue to do everything possible to enhance the security of lives and investments in Nigeria.
Speaking at an audience with a 45-member trade delegation from the United States of America, President Jonathan reaffirmed that the Federal Government was working very hard to overcome Nigeria’s current security challenges, saying that an intensive effort was underway to curb terrorism and other criminal acts such as kidnapping and hostage taking.
The President also assured the delegation which was led by the President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa, Steve Hayes and the Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Mimi Alemayehou that his Administration will continue to empower the private sector to serve as the main drivers of the Federal Government’s agenda for national economic growth and development.
President Jonathan told company executives on the delegation with interests in aviation, power, food processing, ICT, construction, housing, textiles, infrastructure and finance that they could be very confident of the safety of their present and future investments in Nigeria as the country already had one of the most liberal legal regimes for the movement of capital and profits.
The co-leader of the delegation, Mr. Hayes thanked President Jonathan for his efforts to promote greater trade and economic cooperation between Nigeria and the United States.
He assured President Jonathan that the Corporate Council on Africa and its members fully recognized Nigeria’s immense economic potentials and will do their best to support his agenda for national transformation.
Ms. Alemayehou told the President that the delegation had had very fruitful interactions with members of the Federal Executive Council, including the Ministers of Works, Housing, Transport, Agriculture and Communications Technology. She assured President Jonathan that Nigeria will get more investments from the American private sector.
speaking to state house correspondents after the closed door meetings the the American ambassador to Nigeria mister Terrence McCulley and the Nigerias ambassador to the United States, Ade Adefuye disclosed that the team is interested in investing in infrastructure,information technology,housing and water resources.