Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, Monday cited the lopsided appointments into the President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2014 National Conference (CONFAB) as one of the probable reasons the report has been dumped.
He observed that the appointments into the Conference were such that delegates from the south were more in number than those from the north which was not proper.
The Minister who made the disclosure at the presidential stakeholders meeting held in Makurdi was responding to calls by Benue stakeholders and Governor Samuel Ortom that the conference report is revisited or a Sovereign National Conference be convened to discuss the various challenges facing the country.
According to him, “when you talk of a Sovereign National Conference in a situation where you have a democratically elected National Assembly you may run into problems, who is going to take charge. These things have been tried in the past and they failed.
Even the National Conference of 2014 had it own problems the number of the people who came from the south outnumbered those from the north by over 160. The membership strength was not fair to the north.
“Any way that report was compiled by who? I did not know those who represented me. I was a Senator representing the Benue North-West district. Some people were hand-picked to go and draft a report and of course, the National Assembly rejected.”
While lamenting the damage done to the nation’s economy during the #EndSARS protests in part of the country, the Minister observed that the protest which started peacefully was however hijacked by hoodlums who visited mayhem on various states of the federation.
Senator Akume who commended Governor Ortom for ensuring that the protest in the state was peaceful, pointed out that the federal government had initiated various youth empowerment Programmes to uplift the condition of Nigerian youths and urged them to take advantage of the initiative to better their lot.
Governor Ortom, earlier in his welcome speech observed that some of the issues raised by the aggrieved youths were accumulated wrongs meted on people by successive governments.
Governor Ortom warned that leaders must engage the youths in all honesty otherwise the situation may consume both the leaders and the led.
Various stakeholders who spoke at the event including Wantaregh Paul Unongo, Senator Barnabas Gemade, representatives of the youths and Civil Society Organisations among others commended Governor Ortom for proactively handling the protests in Benue which helped in averting crisis and looting in the state.
Former Niger President Tandja Passes On At 82, Causes Of His Passage Not Reveal
Former President of Niger, Mamadou Tandja is dead. The sad occurrence was confirmed by Niger government in Niamey on Tuesday but did not state the cause.
The government declared “three days of mourning throughout the national territory” for the 82-year-old.
Late Tandja was forced out of power in February 2010 after plotting to remain in office despite a two-term limit.
He was succeeded by President Mahamadou Issoufou in 2011.
The former leader had been ill for several years and was flown to France, Germany and Morocco for treatment.
Tandja passed away as Niger prepares for the December 27 presidential election.
Mourners across the country and around the globe took to their various social media handles to pour condolences as his passaged was described as one too many.
The former president will be remember for his services to his people and humanity in general.
South-South Leaders Demands Restructuring Of Nigeria, True Federalism
Governors and people of the South-South geopolitical zone have demanded the restructuring of Nigeria, in line with the principle of true federalism to guarantee peace, security, and stability of the nation.
The South-South leaders believe the country is not at peace with itself and not working as it should, particularly for the people of the region.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, who is the Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum, stated this on Tuesday as the position of the zone during the regional stakeholders meeting with a presidential delegation.
This followed an initial meeting which failed to hold as a result of an emergency National Security meeting.
The delegation, led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, met with the governors and other leaders of the region at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Governor Okowa informed the delegation that the people of the South-South were committed to the restructuring of the country in a way that would guarantee true federalism and devolution of powers to the states to create and manage their own police and security architecture under a federal structure.
He called for true federalism guided by the principle of derivation, revenue sharing, and control of resources by each state of the Federation as it was the case in the first republic.
According to the governor, the kind of federation the South-South desires is one where federating units are constitutionally empowered to create their own structures like local government areas, manage their elections, and control their judiciary.
“We are all aware of the huge endowment of this country; as such, it is imperative to stress that with a little bit of efforts, imagination, hard work, sacrifice and leadership, every state of the Federation as of today, has the ability and capability to contribute to the national purse.
“This should be encouraged rather than the whole country depending substantially on a region of the country,” he said.
Governor Okowa added, “What is worse and even more painful in this ugly situation is the deliberate lack of understanding, empathy and the uncompromising attitudes of some Nigerians, who have refused to understand the challenges of the South-South region of the country especially, the degradation of the environment and our waters.
“As a result, most of the demands of the region have remained unattended to while the resources of the region have been used continually to develop other parts of the country”.
On behalf of the region, he reiterated the call for the relocation of the headquarters of major oil companies from Lagos and Abuja to the South-South.
Privatise Them Now
The governor also requested the immediate implementation of the consent judgment entered in the Supreme Court Suit No: SC/964/2016 to enable the South-South region get its share of the $55billion shortfall of collection on deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contracts.
He called for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the region’s major seaports in Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri, in order to enhance the economic development of the region.
In addition, Governor Okowa demanded that the two refineries in Port Harcourt and one in Warri should be privatised.
“Enough is enough. Let us now privatise them and in doing so, however, allow the states and the region among others, considerable equity in the name of fairness and justice,” he said.
The governor observed that one of the major failures of the intervention agency – Niger Delta Development Commission (NCDC) – was its refusal to forge and foster synergy, consultation, and cooperation with the state governments, especially on project location, development, and execution.
He stated, “We have resolved and we, as the state governments, will no longer allow NDDC to execute any project(s) in any state of the region without it consulting state governments.
“Frankly, enough is enough and we have a court judgment to back our position.”
In his remark, Professor Gambari explained that the stakeholders meeting was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, to the delegation comprising all the ministers from the region to visit and consult with representatives of the people regarding the recent #EndSARS protest.
He noted that reports indicated that there were instances where the breakdown of law and order was recorded in various locations in the South-South states.
Decades Of Mishandling
The presidential aide lauded the governors for their quick response and actions in addressing the crisis in the region.
Beyond the issue of #EndSARS, he said the President acknowledged that the people in the region have been dealing with other concerns that were particular to them, such as the degradation of the environment due to decades of mishandling and adherence to environmental standards.
Professor Gambari promised to convey the demands of the governors and leaders of the region to the President.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, on his part, urged the leaders of the region to avail themselves of the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly, since most of the issues raised were constitutional matters.
Present at the meeting were Governor Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Governor Ben Ayade (Cross River), Governor Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Governor Douye Diri (Bayelsa), and Godwin Obaseki (Edo).
Ministers present included Godswill Akpabio (Niger Delta), Timipre Sylva (State for Petroleum), Goddy Agba (State for Power), Festus Keyamo (State for Niger Delta), Osagie Ehanire (Health), and Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture).
While the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, was absent, the National Chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze Okocha, among others were present.
Ex – Nigerian And Biafran Soldier Col Nwobosi Passes On At 82
A former Nigerian and Biafran soldier, Col. Emmanuel Nworah Nwobosi, passed on
The elder statesman died at the age of 82 on Tuesday.
Col Nwobosi was formally Captain in the Nigerian Army, and Colonel in the defunct Biafran Army, as well as Chief of Staff to the late Biafran leader, General Emeka Ojukwu.
He died on Tuesday at his Obosi in Idemili North Local Government of Anambra State, his country home.
Hon. Emmanuel Nwobosi (jnr) on behalf of the family, said that the patriarch died after a brief illness associated with old age.
He said further that the family will give details of his funeral arrangement later.
“Yes, my father, Col Emma Nworah Nwobosi, is dead. He died today (Tuesday) after a brief illness, reasonably associated with old age,” he said, according to the Sun.
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