We Did Not Call For Fresh National Conference – Kumalia

National ConferenceThe Chairman of the Northern Reawakening Forum, Modibo Kumalia, has explained that their call was not for the convening of another National Conference.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, he said that the conference they are calling for is different from that which was held in 2014.

He explained that what they want is a conference where stakeholders would “come and share experiences” and provide advice on how to rebuild the northeast region of Nigeria

He stated that media reports that they were calling for another national conference were erroneous as their statements were misunderstood. He also did not rule out the possibility of mischief in reporting them “out of context”.

The former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, further decried the sensational headlines in the newspapers which he said did not represent the views they clearly communicated to the media.

“I have been a member of the last National Conference, I know the work that has gone into that conference and we made no issue about throwing away that conference or not throwing away that conference. It was not the subject of our press conference.

“The press conference that we held was to read the communique of a 2-day engagement. We held a summit on Saturday, we held a retreat on Sunday under the auspices of the Northern Reawakening Forum, where a number of stakeholders were invited and various issues were discussed.

“We had in attendance, governors of Northern Nigeria, development partners – World Bank, DFID, African Development Bank, United Nations Humanitarian Office, representatives of CBN, National Planning Commission, NEMA and a host of others.

“We even had philanthropic organisations such as the Dangote Foundation, TY Danjuma Foundation, and there was a paper that was delivered by the Governor of Borno, which talked about building a safe, secure and economically inclusive northern Nigeria.

“The communique we read was a 6-page document that talked about good governance and accountability, infrastructure and IT, youth development and education, security and human suffering as well as healthcare.

“The only thing that these two papers were interested in was the issue of the National Conference which they even took out of context.

“So, I will say that the premise upon which people had reacted to this issue was wrong. They were misled, I don’t know the motive (but) the Northern Reawakening Forum did not call for a fresh national conference or a political reform conference.”

The President Is The Leader Of His Party – Garba Shehu

Garba ShehuThe Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, says President Muhammadu Buhari as the APC leader, remains consistent in his belief that the National Assembly is independent and this would guide his approach to the leadership crisis in Senate.

He said this during an interview on the Thursday morning (June 25) edition of Sunrise Daily on Channels Television where he did a review of the meeting held between Nigerian state governors and the President.

He revealed that the President “mostly listened to what they were saying” and “in fairness to them, the governors took responsibility for the way forward.

“They advised the President to maintain his posture not to be seen to be meddling in the affairs of the National Assembly ‘stay above it and allow us to handle it’ and I think this is what you saw coming from the governors.”

Many Nigerians have wondered if the President would remain unwilling to directly get involved with the matter should the efforts by the governors fail to yield results but Mr Garba Shehu believes this would be fatalistic.

“As a leader, the President has given guidance… His own position is that if the eye troubles you, whatever medicine you’re going to apply, don’t put a pin. The President is not unconcerned,” he said.

He noted also that there must have been some misinterpretation of President Buhari’s promise during his campaign that he would not interfere with the activities of the parliament, especially if the lawmakers would consistently use the President’s pronouncement to justify their refusal of the party’s stance.

“The party did a straw poll – an open and transparent one – which should have been respected. There is no confusion about anything. The party did a process, the President had wished that the party would take that to the very end but that didn’t happen.”

He, however, noted that the President would not impose any candidate on the lawmakers for any position.

Who Is The Leader Of APC?

The crisis in the National Assembly has been blamed on the All Progressives Congress, APC’s seeming stance that they do not have an individual as their leader, who could drive the effort to unify the party in times of crisis.

“Does it need to be said? I don’t think it needs to be said that the President is the leader of his party. There’s no question about it,” Mr Shehu said.

He added that there is need for Nigerians to understand the basics of politics as the country is no more in the military era when decrees are made by a single leader.

“Politics, as its theory says, is basically about contest for interests and these interests may be fully defined by political party programme (while) some of these things may be outside political party programme,” he said, adding that coming from different states there would be different needs influencing the interests every politician would promote.

He also noted that the lawmakers should be appreciated for allowing varying views, “They just cannot pile up in a single line and say ‘here we are, we are all present’.

“When the governors met with the President they told him that ‘we are the leaders in our states and we have influence over all of these senators. They come from our places and from us and we can handle it.”

He affirmed that if the governors are unable to resolve the matter then the President would wade in directly.

“The President has a responsibility to the party, the President has a responsibility to the nation and as far as we are looking at the situation it has not gotten out of control. It is still within manageable parameters, it is a little storm we will overcome and Nigerians better get used to it.”

100 Days Pressure

President Buhari had said while addressing state governors on the financial crisis being faced by many of them that expectations of the first 100 days in office “is bringing so much pressure even when one assumes (office) with a treasury which is virtually empty.

“With debts in billions of dollars, with state workers and some federal workers not even being paid their salaries, its just a disgrace for Nigeria.

“I think Nigeria should be able to at least pay its workers.”

His Spokesman affirmed that the treasury has indeed been emptied, wondering why the media had not asked the former Minister and Deputy Chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Abubakar Suleiman, to provide explanations about the 30billion dollars he claimed was left in the country’s coffers by Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

“We talk about the foreign reserves and the commitment that are well beyond the capacity of the new government especially given the responsibility that has brought forward coming from the election.

“Its a woeful situation and the President needs understanding and he needs help.”

He also spoke about the 100 days pressure which the President claimed to be under.

“Coming into the election, there were all manner of promises that had been made (but) the ground reality is that you must read the books as handed over to you by the outgoing administration.

“As you know, all of these things were kept late (such that) we were not allowed to see the skeletons in the cupboard until the very last minute. Therefore government itself needs time to to read and to understand where we are from the beginning and hope to build on all of that.”


Agriculture Can Make You Have Your Own Private Jet – Jonathan Tells Young Farmers

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria while addressing the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit, on Tuesday, encouraged youths of the nation to participate in the agricultural sector which can help them become private jet owners.

The President commended the youth who are now shifting away from the mindset that agriculture is a “simple poverty-alleviation programme” and encouraged them “to begin to think that agriculture can make you have your own private jet.”

The economic summit, which provides an opportunity to discuss issues with a view to providing practical solutions, is organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, National Planning Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The summit is also the “foremost platform for dialogue between the public and private sectors,” for which the President thanked the organisers, for ensuring consistency for the annual event.

In his address, the President stated that the summit is coming at a critical time in the nation’s political history, following the launch of his administration’s mid-term report on the transformation agenda, on May 29th.

He stressed the government’s determination to “lay a solid foundation for the transformation of the country’s agricultural sector for enhanced growth and development”.

“The country is more determined than ever to unlock the great potentials of agriculture in order to ensure food security, create jobs and generate wealth,” he said, adding that it is “part of our continued effort to demonstrate our drive and commitment to work with the private sector to make agriculture once again, the main stay of our economy”.

This year’s summit focuses on the agricultural sector, which the President said he is not totally in agreement with because “you cannot discuss agriculture without discussing land. You cannot discuss agriculture without talking about farm managers, agronomists, agric engineers and agric economists, and that is education.”

He highlighted other sectors of the economy such as transportation, trade, finance and petroleum.

He also expressed satisfaction in the participation of middle class citizens adding that the involvement of the middle class signals the “beginning of a proper revolution”.

The 19th Nigerian Economic Summit currently on-going, is the third in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The event which is broadcast by Channels Television in Abuja has members of the National Assembly, Federal Executive Council, Members of the Economic Summit Group, Captains of industries and other guests in attendance.

Annual Budget:Finance Ministry,NPC Disagree Over Process

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Minister of Finance; Dr Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala says the problem with the economy is not the current budgeting system but volatility in terms of the country’s revenue.

The minister made the explanation at the continuation of a public hearing on the current national planning and budgetary process in the country.

The two ministries involved in planning and budgeting, Minister of Finance; Dr Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala  and the Permanent Secretary National Planning Commission; Ntufam Ugbo were put on the hot seat on day two of the public hearing organized to examine the country’s planning and budgeting process.

In the past two days, financial experts have been making presentations at the hearing calling for a more coherent and inclusive national planning to drive the annual budgeting process.

The Minister of Finance defended why budgets should be domiciled in the ministry of finance, explaining that the problem with the economy is not the budgeting process as she also defended the envelope system but the Permanent Secretary National Planning Commission disagreed with the minister saying there is a sharp disconnect between the multi-year development plans and the annual budget.

The permanent secretary however called on the National Assembly to enact a law to ensure that on-going projects in MDA’s are completed before funds are appropriated for new projects.

Nigeria’s Problem Is Revenue Volatility, Not Budgeting Process – Okonjo-Iweala

The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said the problem with the nation’s economy is not the current budgeting system but volatility in terms of the country’s revenue.

The Minister made the explanation at the continued public hearing on the current national planning and budgetary process in the country.

However, the Permanent Secretary, National Planning Commission, Mr Ntufam Ugbo, disagreed with the Minister saying that there is a sharp disconnect between the multi-year development plans and the annual budget.

Experts Agree With Senate On Need To Reform Budget Planning

Financial experts have called for a stronger, coherent and inclusive national planning to drive the annual budgeting process.

At a public hearing aimed at reviewing the current national planning and budgetary process in Nigeria, various experts agreed that there is a sharp disconnect between the multi-year development plans and the annual budget.

On the 28th of February 2013, a federal lawmaker, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi raised a motion on the floor of the Senate, calling for a review of the country’s budgeting process.

The Senator proposed that the National Planning Commission be involved in the budgeting process.

Hearing to review the country’s planning and budgeting process, which was an  outcome of the motion, financial experts agreed that the country’s current planning and budgeting process may not have fulfilled public expectations for significant improvements in the economy.

A financial expert Mr Henry Boyo advocated for realistic sectorial benchmarks as a guide for national planning while another expert, Professor Mike Kwanashie wants the harmonization of the budgeting and planning process.

Federal lawmakers have often complained that the current national budgeting process makes the legislature less involved and at best reactive.

They therefore want the legislature to be more involved in the budgeting process to avoid discord and acrimony between the executive and the legislature.

Nigeria Lost N75trillion To Corruption Since 1960 – Professor Akinyemi

About $500 billion had been lost to corruption in the country from 1960 till date. This was the submission of former Minister of External Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi during the one day Minna National Discourse on corruption.

According to the former envoy, the raising insecurity in some parts of the north, the militancy in the south- south and the kidnapping for ransom in the south-east are all the consequences of the high level of corruption that has rocked the nation for many years.

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido, who chaired the event, told the gathering that contrary to the wide held belief, corruption is not the greatest problem confronting the country but the lack of general framework for accountability in all sphere of our national life.

Also speaking at the event the Minister and deputy chairman National Planning Commission, Shamsudeen Usman noted that until the issue of corruption is tackled headlong the nation’s Vision 202020 would just be a mirage.

He however gave some suggestions on how corruption can be eradicated in the country

Also speaking the Governor of Rivers state and chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum, Chibuke Amaechi blamed the high level of insecurity in the country to the corruption of the ruling class.

While for the Governor of Niger state, Muazu Aliyu, corruption arises because there is surplus money available to politicians.

The inaugural Minna National Discourse on Corruption has as its theme; Confronting Trends Of Indiscipline, Corruption and Disregard For Rules and Regulations in Nigeria.

The discourse held in Minna, the Niger state capital.

Budgeting: Senate Seeks To Merge Finance Ministry, Planning Commission

In the aftermath of the budget crises between the executive and the National Assembly over the 2013 Budget, the Senate has moved to reduce the role of the federal Ministry of Finance in the budgeting process.

A federal lawmaker, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, on Thursday, sponsored a motion which would make budget making a joint responsibility of the Budget Office and National Planning Commission.

He said the current annual incremental, envelope based budgeting being used by the Ministry of Finance is arbitrary and inimical to growth.

Senator Adetunmbi who moved the motion at the plenary session, called for a review of the country’s budgeting process and that the National Planning Commission should be involved in the budgeting process.

He said the current national budgeting process makes the legislature less involved and at best reactive, a motion some lawmakers agreed to.

The Senate President, David Mark said other government agencies have usurped the role of the National Planning Commission.

The Senate mandated its Committee on National Planning and Finance to review the current national planning and budgeting linkage and recommend amendment to the relevant laws.


FG Insists on National Good Governance Tour In Edo State

Despite a recent criticism of the National Good Governance Tour (NGGT) by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state and his stance on not welcoming the tour, the NGGT has insisted on proceeding with its visit to projects sites in the event that any state opts out.

The coordinator of NGGT, Mr Samuel Ajayi, made this known in a statement on Saturday, saying that the “Tour Team will go ahead and inspect Federal projects in such states.”

“But where any state chooses not to participate, it can opt out of the NGGT without blackmailing the Tour Team” Mr Ajayi declared.

“It has become imperative to set the records straight, following comments credited to the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, wherein he declared that he would not use state resources to fund the National Good Governance Tour (NGGT) visit to his state” the statement read.

Explaining the origin and duty of NGGT, the statement noted that the tour is a programme designed by the Federal Ministry of Information in collaboration with the National Planning Commission and the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Performance Monitoring and endorsed by the 36 State Governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and the National Economic Council, to publicize the development programmes and projects of all tiers of government in the country.

“It is a non-partisan tour involving the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists; (NUJ) the Radio, Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU); leaders of women and youth organisations; National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS); National Council of Women Societies (NCWS); leaders of non-governmental organisations; operatives of security agencies; representative(s) of the Nigeria Governors Forum Secretariat; and reporters from the nation’s print and electronic media.”

So far, the NGGT team has visited 14 states in the North-Central, South-East and the South-South geo-political zones of the country.


Sambo directs speedy transmission of generated power

Vice President, Architect Namadi Sambo has directed the Federal Ministry of Power to ensure speedy evacuation of power generated to ensure constant power supply.

The Vice President gave this directive, when he chaired the 24th Board meeting of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) overseeing the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), at the State House, Abuja.

The Vice President expressed delight with the current generation capacity of over 4,200 megawatts of electricity, he however lamented the lack of integrity and associated problems of the transmission and distribution lines to evacuate the generated power.

Mr Sambo, noted that with the quantity being added to the national grid, Nigerians were experiencing improvement in power supply, and therefore directed the Ministry of Power and the NDPHC to ensure speedy completion of the transmission lines, and the injection substation for the delivery of constant and stable electricity to Nigerians.

He also directed that a meeting be convened to tackle the problem of gas supply to the power plants, which according to him was also militating against power supply.

In line with President Jonathan’s Performance Contract policy, the VP directed that the National Planning Commission to draw up a Performance Contract that will be signed between him and the Board of NDPHC.

He also directed the NDPHC to ensure that such Performance Contract trickles down and that all of its consultants sign the performance bond, which according to him would enhance service delivery.

4,200 megawatts

Earlier the Minister of State for Power, Arc. Darius Ishaku, disclosed that the country is currently generating more than 4,200 megawatts of electricity, saying that the transmission and distribution network has integrity issues, which is affecting the adequate evacuation of the generated power.

He assured the meeting that the Ministry was doing everything possible to arrest the issue.

The Managing Director of NDPHC, who was represented by the Executive Director Technical Services; Mr. Louis Edozien, disclosed that the NIPP projects in Sapele, Alaoji, Olorunsogo and Omotosho were currently generating 1,350mw.

He however, noted that they would have achieved more but for gas supply as he also gave the assurance that progress was being made to ensure early delivery of all NIPP projects in the country.

The board under the chairmanship of the Vice President approved the purchase of replacement parts for Gas Turbines for Calabar, Egbema and Gabarin power plants from General Electric, the original manufacturers.

The board also approved the engagement of fire-fighting management providers for Olorunsogo, Sapele, Alaoji, Omotosho and Ihovbor power plants and the provision of gas pipe line to Geregu Phase II, NIPP power plant were also approved.

While the extension of project consultancy work for construction of Omotosho Phase II power plant was as well approved by the board.