FG set to resolve fuel, PHCN, labour crisis this week-Okupe

The Federal Government has made clear its intention to resolve the lingering crises with the different union of workers threatening to embark on industrial action, before the week ends.

Abuja is already witnessing days of fuel scarcity with residents now resorting to black market.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), is leading the threat to embark on a nationwide strike over the severance package of Nigerian Union of Electrical Employees (NUEE) with the on-going privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. The electricity workers threatened to shut down the nation’s power grid in their protest.

Also the union of oil marketers and the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) are also on the brink of ceasing the supply of fuel to the nation’s economy over the delay in payment of fuel subsidies. The Federal Capital territory is already witnessing days of fuel scarcity with residents now resorting to black market.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Dr Doyin Okupe on Monday, stated that the Federal Government “is making serious and intense efforts at averting what may seem to be a looming industrial crises involving NUPENG, oil marketers, PHCN staff and the NLC.”

According to Dr. Okupe, “The approach taken by government at resolving this crisis is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional.”

He further explained that the Ministers of Labour, Power, and other Federal Government officials met with the aggrieved PHCN workers and “virtually all their demands have been agreed upon except for the issue of severance benefits of workers” he claimed.

He however noted that “While the workers (PHCN) insist on their terms of employment, government’s proposition is based on the Pension Act of 2004. However, this matter will most probably be resolved favourably within the coming week by the Presidency.”

Dr. Okupe also stated that, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance minister, Dr. Ngozi  Okonjo – Iweala has shifted  her base temporarily to Lagos, in spite of the Sallah holidays, where she has been engaged intensively also with the aggrieved oil marketers , union members and other stakeholders in the downstream sector.

“All indications are to the effect that favourable resolutions are being reached and all matters are likely to be resolved within this week” he stated.

Dr Okupe on behalf of the Federal Government, therefore “Urged Nigerians to be calm, as all hands are on deck to ensure that normalcy returns soonest”.

Okupe appeals to oil workers to re-open for Sallah celebration

Special Assistant to the president on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe says that the federal government will never patronise any oil marketer who is found to have defrauded the government.

He also appealed to owners of petrol stations in the country to resume the sale of fuel so as not to inflict hardship on Nigerians who are traveling for the Sallah holiday.

He said that the finance ministry has paid up to N42 billion to the oil companies who have a clean record following the subsidy probe.

Abati and Okupe deny any rancour between them

The presidency has denied reports that the recent appointment of Dr Doyin Okupe as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs has led to a conflict between him and the the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati.

Dr Reuben Abati who convened the meeting to introduce Dr Okupe to State House correspondents, affirmatively declared that there is no conflict between his office and that of the Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, stating that Dr. Doyin Okupe was hired to complement him in engaging the public coherently.

Briefing State House correspondents on their positions on Tuesday, Dr Abati and Dr Okupe jointly declared that there is no conflict in the information management process in the presidency, as speculated by some media reports.

Acoording to Dr Okupe, “the position of Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs is not in any way conflicting with the job of the Special Adviser to the President. The Special Adviser to the President remains the presidential spokesman. All official policies and statements emanating from the President are released through him. Anything that is official, which has to do with what the President has spoken, will be spoken of by Dr. Reuben Abati. My job is public affairs” explained the new appointee.

Dr Abati also explained that the former Minister of Information is joining the team with a lot of confidence in the Jonathan project. “One thing we both have in common is that we both have a passion for the Jonathan’s transformation agenda and we believe in President Jonathan that he deserves the support of all Nigerians and that as many people as possible should join hands together to promote that transformation agenda, to support this administration and our responsibility in terms of how this administration information process is managed is to make sure that we engage the public robustly and moving forward, our team remains very strong.”

The two appointees cheerfully debunked the report, noting that they rather would join hands to promote the transformation agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Still Amendment of 1999 Constitution: Focus on Single term tenure

An overwhelming criticism was what greeted President Goodluck Jonathan’s proposal of a single term for elected officials shortly after his election in 2011.

A divergent reaction of standing ovation was what was recorded when a political scientist, Prof Isawah Elaigwu made a similar recommendation when he called for a single term of five years for all elected officials with the incumbents, not benefiting from the policy.

The professor made the call at the recent  Senate retreat on Constitution Amendment.

The newly appointed Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Matters, Dr Doyin Okupe joins our panel of discussant which include Mr.Tony Uranta and Senator Magnus Abe to talk on the single term policy and other germane issues to be addressed ahead of the fourth amendment of the 1999 Constitution.