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Kwara State: Of monthly revenues and drain pipes

DURING Governor AbdulFatai Ahmed’s first term in office, between 2011 and 2015, an Audit Query was issued on the huge sums of money that Kwara state had hemorrhaged, through the incredible spending on such “bottomless pit” institutions like Bukola Saraki’s Zimbabwe Farms (‘domesticated’ as Shonga Farms); Advanced Diagnostic Center and the International Aviation College.

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Notable new openings in Adamawa

I ARRIVED Yola on Monday this week, for my first visit since 2013. But the prelude to this trip came four days before the gubernatorial election last year. As is my wont, I had written my column in the early hours of the Wednesday before the election, during which I endorsed a couple of candidates: Kashim Shettima in Borno; Nasir El-Rufai in Kaduna; Aminu Tambuwal in Sokoto; Umar Al-Makura in Nasarawa; Aminu Bello Masari in Katsina and Umar Jibrilla Bindow in Adamawa.

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BRIEFING: Form left, Jigawa State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stakeholder, Mr Ibrahim Sheu Brima; former Senior Special Adviser, Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr Doyin Okupe and Alhaji Ahmed Gulak who declared himself Chairman of the PDP at the party’s secretariat, Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan

PDP: Katakata inside the basket of Scorpions

THESE are certainly not the best of times for Nigeria’s former ruling party, the People Dempcratic Party, PDP. The juggernaut’s transition from power has been so painful, almost like a junkie forcibly weaned off an addiction, that recovery is becoming a frustrating experience. The ruthless vote-rigging contraption that used to arrogantly describe itself as Africa’s largest political party, has dissembled so rapidly, soon after it was thrown out of power last year

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Kwara and Kaduna: Contrasting faces of governance

I AM writing this week’s piece in Ilorin, Kwara State. In recent weeks, I have travelled back and forth between the three cities I live in: Abuja, Kaduna and Ilorin. These cities elicit contrasting emotions for me. As I have always argued, there is a soul-less character to Abuja, and an impersonality that is underlined at weekends or public holidays, when it empties as people travel to other parts of Nigeria.

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Haliru Bello

Fathers and sons Incorporated

ONE of the most significant issues of recent revelations of high wire corruption in Nigeria today, is the way that leading politicians have brought their children into the corruption loop. Top Nigerian politicians are appearing in courts together with their sons. Humungous sums of public money are stolen and shared by fathers and sons (their daughters are entering the political fray too). Ruling class irresponsibility has led to the detention and arraignment of fathers along with their children, for stealing monies in their care, expected to be used for the betterment of society.

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New year, old contradictions

2016 is here! As the old year hurtled into memory, we can look forward to the portents for the New Year. Every country plans against the backdrop of expectations built within the context of the old year. We had exited last year with the excitement following the 2015 elections and change of government, tempered by the hard reality of a serious economic crisis. Household budgets have taken a severe knock as Nigerians go through a very difficult time; but we averted the danger that would have descended, if President Goodluck Jonathan’s PDP administration had achieved re-election. Nigeria pulled itself from the edge of a precipice, by voting for change, but for change to be more than just a slogan, there is a lot of work on hand for all of us. Nigeria must abandon the old ways and consciously make a different set of choices. But this is where the problem lies. The more things change, the more they have remained same in our country

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File: Elder Orubebe at the INEC collation centre

Defeating despair, reinforcing hope

2015. What a year in our lives! I have thought long and hard about this year, trying to come to terms with its many colours and shades; the ups and downs that made it such an incredible year in the life of our dear country. I honestly think the stand out moment, one which has defined the Nigerian spirit profoundly, was that encounter between PDP chieftain Peter Godsday Orubebe and the former INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega.

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N20 billion bond: Chasing Kwara’s black goat at night

I MADE a tremendous effort last Friday, to get out of bed as early as possible in the morning. I arrived in Ilorin last Sunday, and had read that the state House of Assembly was to hold a public hearing on a N20 billion bond that the Kwara state government was proposing to access from the capital market. Loans and bonds have almost become synonymous with Kwara State, since Bukola Saraki became governor in 2003; and the jury is out on the usages of those loans. I was determined to watch the legislators interrogate the proposed bond, especially because there were reports that the legislature had previously refused to endorse the plan twice, and had insisted on knowing how previous loans and bonds were expended. It didn’t appear typical of the Kwara House of Assembly! The information I read had stated that the public hearing was to commence by 8am. I arrived at the House of Assembly by seven thirty, but there was no indication that a public hearing was about to take place there.

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Muhammed Lawal

Remembering Governor Muhammed Lawal

NOVEMBER 15th, marked the ninth anniversary of the passing of Rear Admiral Muhammed Alabi Lawal, naval officer, former Ogun state military administrator and first democratically elected indigene of Ilorin as civilian governor of Kwara state. To commemorate the anniversary, a prayer session held in his residence in Ilorin, while his political associates used the opportunity to recall his contributions to Kwara’s development. I was unable to attend ceremonies to commemorate his death.

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Social Media Bill

Social media and its Senate malcontents

LAST week, a very controversial bill passed second reading in the Nigerian Senate. The bill titled: “Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions”, is sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, representing Kebbi South. The bill’s sponsor said it is aimed at whoever makes “an allegation or publish a statement or petition in the newspaper, radio, or medium of whatever description against another person, institutions of government, or any public office holder”.

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Minimum wage

Nigerian governors and national minimum wage

Last week, the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, rose from a meeting to announce that they can no longer pay the N18, 000 National Minimum Wage that was signed into law in March 2011, by President Goodluck Jonathan. The governors gave as reason for their inability to continue to meet their obligations to the Nigerian working people, the poor state of the Nigerian economy. Specifically, the governors pointed out that the wages burden was lighter when crude oil sold at $126 as against the current $41 per barrel.

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