The Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Kalu, has assured Nigerians that the ninth National Assembly will not be a rubber stamp to the executive.
Kalu said this on Wednesday in an interview with newsmen in his Camp Neya country home in Igbere, Bende Local Government Area of Abia.
He spoke on the sideline of a meeting of the executives of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the ward, local and zonal levels in his Abia North Senatorial District.
He said that the Ninth National Assembly (NASS) is made up eminent Nigerians, who had attained great height in the nation’s political and economic life, and could not be afraid of anybody.
“Some of us have been governors and attained great height in different spheres of life. We cannot be afraid of anybody,” he said.
He said that NASS is an independent arm of government and would stand on the path of justice and rule of law in discharging its mandate of law making and oversight.
Kalu promised that NASS would partner President Muhammadu Buhari to realise his “Next Level” mantra which, he said, centred essentially on security and economic growth.
He also said that he had faith in the capacity of the ministers-designate to support the president in driving his economic agenda for overall national development.
“Nobody is perfect but the president has demonstrated the will power to take Nigeria to the next level.
“You remember that the world suffered economic recession but Nigeria was the first to exit from it under Buhari so NASS believes in him and will continue to support his policies,” he said.
Kalu described his few weeks experience in the Senate as exciting and rewarding, saying, “We see ourselves as classmates, with the Senate President as the class monitor.”
Addressing the meeting, Kalu promised to support the party executives in the area with the necessary logistics to hold meetings regularly in order to keep the party strong.
The former Abia governor further spoke on his Orji Kalu Foundation and its empowerment scheme in collaboration with foreign partners, including Fords Foundation and Bill Gates Foundation, among others.
He described the scheme as non-partisan, saying that the beneficiaries of the palm seedlings in the five local governments in the senstorial district cut across party lines.
He said that the empowerment was part of the foundation’s numerous packages designed to reduce poverty among the people, irrespective of their party affiliation.
“The day I was inaugurated as a Senator, I swore an oath to be a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not for APC, PDP or APGA,” Kalu said.
He said that electioneering was over, hence people should refrain from unnecessary political bickering, hatred and divisive tendencies.
“You should embrace other people from other parties. Learn to accommodate and show love to them. You should emulate me,” he said.
The legislator said that there was no faction in the party, arguing that the little skirmishes were normal occurrences in politics.
He promised to “solidify” the party in order to strengthen it and make it formidable ahead of 2023.
To this end, he promised to hold meetings periodically with stakeholders and leaderships of the party in all the three senatorial districts.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the Abia North Zonal Chairman of the party, Chief Chris Ajah, local government chairmen and secretaries, zonal youth and woman leaders took turns to speak on the challenges and prospects of APC in the zone.
They all paid special tribute to Kalu for his relentless support in ensuring that the party recorded significant and unprecedented success during the general elections and hoped to improve on the record in 2023.
Meanwhile, the meeting resolved to write a “thank you letter” to the president for nominating one of his ministers-designate, Mr Sampson Ogah, an oil magnate, from Abia north.
(Edited by Sam Oditah)
Committee threatens to invoke constitutional power on CBN over ailing ports
Rep. Yusuf Buba (APC-Adamawa) Chairman of an investigative Ad hoc Committee of the House of Representatives has threatened to invoke constitutional powers to compel the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to appear before it over ailing ports.
Buba issued the threat in an interview with journalists on Monday in Abuja after the CBN, again, failed to appear before the committee.
It had summoned the CBN and four others at a public hearing on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 which the agencies failed to appear.
“Today, they all met with us and they have all made their presentations, except the CBN and then we are issuing a last warning to the CBN to make sure they make themselves available.
“If they do not, we will use our constitutional powers to summon them by force,” he said.
According to him, majority of the people in that maritime business were from eastern axis of the country.
“There is no reason why their ports would not work, we cannot subject them to bring their goods through the Lagos and start transporting it on the bad roads,” he said.
Contrary to claims by Ship Owners Association, Buba said that there was no deliberate government attempt to stop the ports in the east from functioning.
The lawmaker said that no government would want to choke the source of livelihood of its citizens, adding that the claims were not true.
Buba said that it was difficult to bring very heavy goods through air cargo, especially goods such as Premium Motor Spirit or crude oil.
According to him, it is very expensive for our businessmen to do that and so the ports must work for the economy to open up and we must make it work.
The chairman said that the essence for setting up the committee was to look into all the issues, including insufficient facilities in and around the ports.
He said that most of the problems were known and what was left was how to solve them which government was interested in doing so.
Buba maintained that the committee would look into issues surrounding all the dredging contracts and make sure whoever was found wanting would be made to face justice.
He said once the ports are dredged, big vessel would be able to move down south freely without fear.
The chairman said that the issues of security on the waterways were being investigated with a view to finding lasting solution to piracy and sea rubbery.
PDP screens governorship aspirants for Bayelsa, Kogi
Nigeria News Agency reports that the exercise was being held at two separate venues simultaneously.
Aspirants from Bayelsa were undergoing screening at the party’s National Secretariat, Wadata Plaza, Wuse zone 5; while aspirants from Kogi were being screened at Legacy House, the party’s presidential campaign office in Maitama.
Speaking separately with newsmen after going through the screening, the aspirants expressed confidence in the screening and satisfaction with the process.
Former Governor of Kogi, Capt. Idris Wada, who was the first aspirant, said that the exercise was satisfactory.
“I am confidence in the screening committee chair by Ishaku which is doing a thorough and professional job.
“I am satisfied with the process and I am confidence in the panel. I have very positive disposition to what they have done,’’ he said.
Wada said that so far his candidacy was being embraced across the state and he was sure of wining the primaries.
He expressed confidence that whoever emerged as the party’s candidate would be supported by all other aspirants.
Sen. Dino Melaiye, representing Kogi West, who is also an aspirant, said that the committee was doing professional work.
“The committee was very professional and I met all the requirements by the screening committee and the party,’’ Dino said.
Another aspirant from Kogi, Muhammed Tetes, said that from the interaction at the screening, he believed the committee would do the right thing.
He said that all the aspirants were qualified to rule the state and they were ready to work together.
“We have discussed among ourselves while we are waiting for the screening exercise that after the outcome of the primary, we should be ready to work together.
“We need to work together in the interest of the masses and development of the grassroots.
“As you are aware, Kogi is at the state of disarray and it is only through team work and common understanding that we would be able to move the state forward. This is a task that must be done by PDP,’’ he said.
Mr Victor Adoje, another aspirant from Kogi commended the screening process, expressing confidence he was going to pass the screening.
Edited by Kayode Olaitan
Ministers designate inauguration: AGA calls dedication, selfless service
All Grassroots Alliance (AGA) National Chairman Olukayode Oshiariyo has advised ministers designate to demonstrate selfless service in the discharge of their duties.
Oshiariyo gave this advice in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Mr Kehinde Ojoawo in Abuja on Monday.
He observed that the call was necessary as the ministers designate would be inaugurated on Aug. 21by President Muhammadu Buhari at State House, Abuja.
“We must work as a team. Working as a team demands that we know what the next person is doing. You must open communication with your colleagues; lack of communication leads to lack of cooperation and sub-optimal performance,’’ he said.
Oshiariyo noted that it was important for the incoming ministers to be more concerned with the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians than with their own.
He added those cases such as corruption, nepotism and other evil act, capable of destroying the peace and unity of the country must be shunned by them.
He also called on Buhari and the National Assembly to initiate new mechanisms for assessing the performance of the ministers from time to time saying “such assessment would enhance optimum performance on their part.
“The president and his cabinet members should be diligent in generating new ideas that can move the country forward, especially in the areas of economy and national security.
“The tasks ahead of them are enormous and they must be up and doing, they cannot afford to disappoint the nation.
“The president should also be willing to accommodate fresh ideas from the ministers and his special advisers in steering the affairs of the country’’.
He urged the Federal Government to put an end to the rising cases of banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping, killings and other organised crimes across the country.
The 43 ministers designate who were earlier screened and confirmed by the Senate would be inaugurated by the President Buhari on Wednesday and they are presently attending a two-day retreat.
The president, while opening the session on Wednesday, said that the country and the administration would rely on them to implement policies and programmes to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
PRP needs total reform, says Shehu Sani
A member of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Sen, Shehu Sani, on Monday said the party needs major reform to enable it contest every elective post in all constituencies across the country.
Sani said this when he received executive members of the party in Kaduna state who paid him Sallah homage at his home in Kaduna.
“The task before us is how to reform our party, and make it possible for men of honour and integrity to take over relevant positions in the move towards winning elections,” he said.
He however cautioned that “the PRP is not a party for anybody”, as it was founded on progressive socialist ideas with defined directions and goals.
“If you are not of the socialist Marxist progressives left, don’t think of yourself as a PRP member, you are in the wrong place; its ideology is clearly defined.
“You cannot be a leader of PRP if you think and behave like bourgeoisie,” he said.
According to the former senator, Nigeria’s future depends on a political party with clear ideological direction of which the PRP represents.
He cautioned party members against ethnic and religious politics, saying that “we need to consider all members of the party as one, and work together under one banner and ideology of PRP to free our country.
“PRP must resolve to embarce all as one and unite to defeat all forces of decisiveness and injustice that have taken over the reign of leadership in the state,” he said.
Sani also spoke on the policies of the Buhari administration.
According to him, there are some policies of President Muhammadu Buhari that are good and those that are not.
“We should identify with good policies and openly condemn and reject bad policies, we must not sit on the fence on matters of right and wrong, we must be neutral on matters of justice and injustice,” Sani said.
He assured the delegation of his unwavering commitment to the PRP and its desire to seize power at all levels in 2023.
Sani thanked the state executive council members of the party for their steadfastness and good leadership.
According to him, the PRP is the only party that has survived since the second republic to today without compromising its principle of honour and integrity.
He therefore urged the party leaders to continue to uphold the intergrity of the party, “until we return the PRP to power not only in Kaduna state but in the whole of Nigeria.
“History beckons on you to stand up to reach out to the people historically attached to the PRP, to free the people of Nigeria from deception and misrepresentation.”
He cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of most politicians in APC, saying they were there because of the perks of office not service to the people.
” They are with Buhari because he is in power and they will leave Buhari the very day he leaves power.
“They are with Buhari not because of his ideas, integrity or thinking, but because he is the President of Nigeria.”
Earlier, the state PRP Chairman, Alhaji Abdulraham Danbirni, said that the visit was to pay Sallah homage and thank Sani for his support to the party.
“You have distinguished yourself as the vocal advocate of the masses and the conscience of the people,” he said, adding that the leadership will support the former senator’s aspirations.
The chairman said the leadership has been working hard to unite all members after the crisis that engulfed the party prior to the last general elections.
He expressed optimism that the PRP’s grassroots support and alleged failure of Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai will swing the next election to the party.
He added that the current administration in the state lacks focus and is running anti people policies and programmes.
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed
Akeredolu begins 14-day working vacation
The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu on Monday begins a 14-day working vacation.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Segun Ajiboye, who disclosed this in a statement issued on Monday in Akure added that the governor would resume on Sept. 14.
Ajiboye disclosed that the governor had transmitted a letter on the vacation to the state House of Assembly before proceeding on the annual leave.
He said the governor notified the Assembly that his deputy, Agboola Ajayi , would perform the functions of the governor on his absent.