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President Muhammadu Buhari flanked by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Chairman Goverbors' Forum, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State while Governor Akinwumi Ambode 0f Lagos State (l); Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State (r) joined other State Executives in a group photograph after the first meeting between the President and State Governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

Nigerian Governors: Their ways and their friends

Comedies are probably the best channels of effectively transmitting messages to a number of people. Unlike the media that concentrate more on information and education, which many people in a recession hardly patronize, the comedian relies more on entertainment for sending messages to people who when fully amused by the comedian’s jokes assimilate the messages more easily.

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Kemi  Adeosun

The sad siege at the Federal Ministry of Finance

Last week, the Federal Ministry of Finance was effectively blocked for at least 3days from performing any of its duties. The act was carried out by the Ministry’s workers who were protesting the non-payment of what they called Special overtime allowances “due” to them. What greatly infuriated the workers was that the minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun allegedly ignored their demands hence they decided to show her their raw power.

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Ekiti: Whither stomach infrastructure?

Nigeria’s political dictionary grows by the day. At every election junction, a new term is added to the list. However, one of its recent additions, ‘stomach infrastructure’ is so soon already having problems with a palpable fear that it is on its way to extinction. Stomach infrastructure, a term which refers to the sharing of food and gift items to ordinary people by government became popularized during the events leading to the rather shocking victory of Ayo Fayose the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the then governor, Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State. PDP was to formally adopt it as a party policy. Speaking at a Presidential rally in Benin City, Edo State on September 27, 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan explained that the policy was premised on the philosophy of what he called “you cannot lead hungry people”. It is a philosophy that many, especially the downtrodden of Nigeria cannot fault. Unfortunately, the Fayose government of Ekiti known for stomach infrastructure has been unable to pay workers salaries in the last 5 months let alone to engage in distributing food and gifts.

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File: Buhari during the 2016 budget presentation to the National Assembly.

Can the 2016 budget change the fate of Nigerians?

If the number of challenges which the 2016 budget has encountered is anything to go by, the document would go down in history as a special budget. To start with, it is the first budget of change by President Buhari’s government. In which case, it ought to depart from the “rub my back and I will concur” posture of the past. Surprisingly, change didn’t quite occur along that line as efforts were made from the beginning to adulterate the budget.

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Workers, Governors set for showdown...

Except Buhari, every Nigerian worker can be a ghost

The fall in oil prices alone is enough for the blind to see that Nigeria is financially down. President Buhari must therefore tighten government’s belt and block all leakages. In so doing, he has to have in his sub-consciousness that the Nigeria ghost is special. Thus, the term “ghosts” as used in this article is more than a non-existent entity that functions as though it is alive when in reality it is not. The Nigerian ghost is in various forms and shapes just as it presents itself in several dimensions. Its history easily reveals a rather large figure that is disturbingly high enough to make anyone wonder if there are not more ghosts than the ordinary workers in our public sector. As far back as April 2001, the then Accountant General of the Federation Chief Joseph Naiyeju revealed that there were 40,000 ‘ghost workers’ in the Nigerian government service. Two years later, 24,000 ghosts were identified in the pension’s unit of the Ministry of Defence alone. The Information Ministry allegedly had 40% under-qualified staff and 20 percent ghost workers. The Federal Civil Service Commission authenticated the revelation with a report that over 30 percent of the workers on its payroll were phantom staff.

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Who is confusing Nigerians, Politicians or Judges?

In 1998, some Nigerian political leaders who described themselves as likeminded decided to set up political parties as channels for taking-over government from the departing military administration. The most formidable of such parties was known as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It was so powerful that at a point its leaders boasted openly that they would govern Nigeria for at least 50 years.

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Ethnicity in Nigeria’s governance

On Thursday October 4, 2012, the Taraba State House of Assembly impeached the then Deputy Governor of the state, Sani Abubakar Danladi. His unproven misconduct which was serious enough to the legislators to warrant his impeachment was that he allegedly used his office to attract favours and development to himself and his local community.

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Minister of Youth and Sports Solomon Dalung and Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola at the Emergency Federal Executive Council in Statehouse on 8th April 2016

Town Hall Meeting is good but….

Mutual distrust and suspicion between local communities and herdsmen is probably Nigeria’s most recent internal security challenge. To specifically address the subject, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase has developed a strategic initiative of convening town hall meetings throughout the country to enhance the process of reassurance policing and the need for peaceful coexistence and sensitivity of each community’s value, space and interest. The goal is to utilize all Police formations in their respective locations to counter misinformation, anxiety and animosity being generated in relation to the challenge. If police operatives that are deployed in every locality in the nation purposefully follow the directive, so much can be achieved. It is thus no doubt a well thought-out design of public enlightenment which many state governors have also been patronizing. For instance, both at Abesan on October 06, 2015 and at the City Council Hall on January 19, 2016, Governor Ambode of Lagos used the strategy to get many Lagosians to appreciate his administration. It is gratifying that our Information Minister, Lai Mohammed has also joined the group.

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Edo State does not deserve political violence

It was quite disheartening to hear the news last Tuesday that legislators in the Edo State House of Assembly resorted to fighting as a means of conflict resolution as their colleagues in Nasarawa State did last month. The issue at stake in the Edo legislature was the removal of the speaker and his deputy. According to reports, 16 out of 24 members of the House wanted the change, but curiously such a majority could not peacefully have its way. Instead, hoodlums who were on standby released gunshots as an institutional statement.

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House of Representatives

What exactly is the meaning of constituency project?

One of the puzzles yet unraveled in the Nigerian game of politics is why our annual budget has been a source of quarrel between the legislature and the executive since the nation’s return to democracy in 1999. With the 17-year old quarrel operating as a yearly matter without exception, it seems obvious that how to grab money is a prime objective of the squabble. Following the inability of the Federal Executive Council last Wednesday to say when the 2016 budget would be signed into law, hopes of many citizens looking forward to the budget have been dashed. The current phase of the usual cat and rate game does not show that even an early submission of the budget in the future would resolve the matter. It appears obvious that irrespective of when it is submitted, the budget will always be delayed for as long as it takes those hustling for personal gains to achieve their targets. What keeps the hustling game alive is the claim by the legislature that it has the power of appropriation. Citing relevant provisions of the constitution, legislators insist that they can alter, reject or even rewrite the budget. Of course, such a claim of the legislature that every other contribution to the budget depends on its own whims and caprices is incorrect because that would injure the spirit of checks and balances.

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El-Rufai at the event.

How wrong is Governor El Rufai?

For some time now, there has been ample opposition to the policy initiatives of the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El Rufai. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is perhaps the governor’s fiercest critic with respect to a proposed law to regulate religious activities in the state. The bill is aimed at banning the usage of loudspeaker for religious purposes “other than inside a Mosque or Church and the surrounding areas outside the stipulated prayer times.” Governor el-Rufai wants to legally stop the playing or circulating of “all cassettes, CDs, flash drives or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers other than inside one’s house, porch, Church, Mosques and other designated places of worship.” The bill also seeks to ban sales or playing of any cassette containing “religious recordings in which abusive language is used against any person or religious organisation or religious leaders (past or present). Any person found guilty of preaching without a valid licence and other offences under the proposed law “shall be liable to two years in prison or a fine of N200, 000.”

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Let’s remove fighters from our legislature

The latest incident of fighting in a House of Assembly took place last Monday when Nasarawa State legislators engaged themselves in a free for all fight inside what is often called their ‘Hallowed’ Chambers. According to media reports, the “lawmakers punched each other while glasses were shattered, tables and chairs were also upturned in the violence that engulfed the House for hours. Some legislators sustained injuries during the violence while some had their clothes torn.”

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Oyegun and Buhari

How selective is Buhari’s anti-corruption war?

During the 2015 electioneering period, it was easy to see how corruption was established as Nigeria’s most intractable problem. Hence, the then opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) vowed to deal with it head-long, if voted into office. Many people believed that the party could in reality fulfil its promise because of the antecedents of its flag bearer, General Muhammadu Buhari. In fact, many of those who opposed Buhari were ignored because they were seen by the public as corrupt officials who feared the likelihood of the exposure of their corrupt practices. Having won the election against that backdrop, one would expect that Buhari’s anti-corruption war would be fierce and that it would in turn be appreciated by all. Today, the situation is inexplicably shifting as those being interrogated have succeeded in convincing some people that the war is selective. Almost on a daily basis now, the criticism is getting louder as corruption is fighting back with groups being mobilized to condemn the policy

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A new TV experience for this Soweto resident!

NTA’s problem is not structure but govt control

Nigerian veteran broadcasters must have been amused by reports in the media last week that Government was making efforts to restructure the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and other publicly-funded media establishments to enhance their performance. According to the reports, the nation’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed made a request to the Doha based Al Jazeera Television to collaborate with his ministry in the area of capacity building for journalists in public-owned media organizations, especially the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). It is not a new attempt. During the Obasanjo administration the BBC was similarly mobilized. But are ‘Structure’ and ‘Training’ the problems of the NTA?

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