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Best Western Wetland Hotel Opens In Warri, Delta State – Guardian

August 3, 2015
Best Western Wetland Hotel

Residents, visitors and business travellers in Warri, Delta State now have a new facility to cater for their hospitality needs. It is the newly opened Best Western Wetland hotel located in the DSC Township, Warri.

Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

The new hotel is a member of Best Western hotel chain, which currently ranks as one of the top hotel groups internationally. The Marketing/Business Manager, Best Western Wetland hotel, Uzo Abazie, described the facility as “distinctive and captivating”.
Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Best Western features modern furniture of simple style. Each room is equipped with comfortable bed and designed to taste. “Planning an event with us is simple and easy. Our executive chef’s fresh and unique creations rival the best in the world, showcasing both continental and African dishes that meet our clienteles’ international taste and standards,” said Abazie.
Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Our convention and catering specialists will work closely with you to design your ideal conference or seminar space. With latest audio-visuals and wireless equipment in all our meeting rooms, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. We also provide outstanding fitness facilities, including a gymnasium, sauna, aerobics room, and swimming pool,” he said.
Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

The hotel’s business centre consists of services such as faxing, photocopying, and typing. Best Western Wetland Hotel is located 15 minutes drive from Osubi Airstrip and a minute drive from Mofor junction on the DSC expressway, Udu-Warri which connects other cities such as Benin, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa and Owerri.
Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Best Western Wetland Hotel, Mofor Junction, DSC Express, Udu-Warri, Delta State

Buhari’s Anti-Corruption War Takes Off, Bars Ministers from Approving Payments for Contractors

June 6, 2015
Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade appears to have taken off in earnest barely a week after assuming office with a stern warning to ministers not to dabble into approving payments for contractors.

The government came boldly yesterday with a clear policy directive asking only the heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs not to abdicate their core functions to ministers who are political appointees but to do their jobs in strict compliance with the policy guidelines of the administration.

The Head of Service of Civil Service of the Federation, Mr Danladi Kifasi, made the new position of the government known at a media briefing in Abuja.

According to the Head of Service of the Federation, the government wants to keep the political class away from issues of finance so that development of our country can be sustained.
He said: “If a minister travels out and payment is due, we cannot afford to wait for the ministers to come back before we pay.”

Findings by Saturday Vanguard revealed that the HoSF was compelled to make the clarifications following a clash between permanent secretaries of major Federal Government ministries and former ministers in the Jonathan government over the payment of contractors.

Saturday Vanguard learnt that most permanent secretaries and directors of accounts in the ministries and MDAs fell out with many of the immediate past ministers following their refusal to pay contractors favoured by them for jobs approved and awarded through the backdoor by the ministers in their last effort to make quick money out of the system.

The clash between a former minister and a serving permanent secretary is said to have degenerated into a near major scandal in one of the major Federal Government ministries in Abuja which deals with land and development of infrastructure.

The minister was reported to have hurriedly approved the award of many contracts for companies said to be close to him and later ordered the permanent secretary to pay the affected contractors, an order, which the civil servant bluntly turned down, thereby entering into the bad books of the former minister.

To reverse the trend as the Buhari government takes off, the HoSF, warned that henceforth, no permanent secretary should allow themselves to be misdirected by any minister in the award and payment for contracts.

Kifasi who cleared what he described as a misconception of political appointees to approve payment for contracts, made it clear that approval of payments for contracts are strictly the jurisdiction of accounting officers or directors of the various ministries.

The Head of Service, who was apparently in support of the refusal of permanent secretaries to pay contractors approved for payment by out-gone ministers, explained that both the Procurement Act and extant government circulars clearly define the roles of the civil servants relating to contract awards and payment.

Kifasi said, “The President has said that his administration will concentrate on policy issues and so we civil servants are re-directing our efforts and minds towards achieving or aligning with the president’s directive.

“Payments are normally approved by the accounting officers. In a parastatal, it is either the managing director or the director-general. In the ministry it is the permanent secretary and not the minster.

“In the procurement process, ministers do not approve either. It is the Ministerial Tenders Board that sits to consider and approve contracts within their approval threshold. If it is beyond the Board, it goes to the Federal Executive Council.

“The only thing a minister does is that he signs the council memo for the procurement that goes to the Federal Executive Council. For the Ministerial Tenders Board which is usually chaired by the Permanent Secretary; the Permanent Secretary sends his report and the minutes of the tender’s board to the minister for his concurrence and endorsement. That is their role “For instance, if ministers were asked to be approving payments, now that there are no ministers will work then stop? So it is actually a misinformation.”

Beyond finance, the HoSF warned civil servants that the warning by President Buhari for them to change their attitude to work should be taken seriously as lateness to work and other acts inimical to the service would not be tolerated any longer.

“Consequently, permanent secretaries, Directors, Chief executives of parastatals and agencies are to take appropriate steps to address this situation. All public servants are to note that measures as enshrined in the Public Service Rules will be enforced on erring officers,” Kifasi warned.
Source: Vanguard

The Role, Rights and Responsibilities of the Opposition by Hon. Alban S. K. Bagbin

May 27, 2015
Alban Bagbin

As a Lead discussant, my paper is to tickle your minds in order to stimulate discussion and foster a better understanding of the essential but little regarded subject of the “Role, Rights and Responsibilities of the Opposition”

It has long been acknowledged by democratic theory that the principle of legitimate political opposition is one of the most fundamental components of any liberal democracy. As Ian Shapiro has contended, “democracy is an ideology of opposition as much as it is one of government”. The fundamental role of political opposition, both as a normative value and an empirical manifestation, for a proper working of liberal democracy, has, finally, also come to be acknowledged by the overwhelming majority of political elites and citizens of all mature democracies.

A properly functioning constitutional democratic system is about choice. In such a system, there must be a constant reminder to the populace that there is a viable alternative to the incumbent political grouping that holds the potential of moving the country onto a qualitatively higher development plane.

The institutions and bodies that play this role are generally referred to loosely as opposition. However, when the term the opposition is used, it largely refers to parliamentary opposition considered to be the ‘true’ form of opposition. In western democracies, all other forms of ‘unconventional’ and possibly ‘unconstitutional’ opposition tend to be viewed as ‘deviations’ from the parliamentary type of political opposition.

In many democratic systems, the opposition has often been described as a minority party or parties that do not wield executive power. The party or parties that act as a check on the governments. This could be a rather narrow definition and certainly does not make room for all types of governance, e.g. transitional coalition governments.

To understand what the opposition is in the real sense, it is important to look at the role it plays in democratic governance. The role of the opposition in a democracy is a far cry from the definition given by Tierney, a commentator, about a century ago when he contended that “the duty of an Opposition is and to turn out the government”.

The traditional role of the opposition can be classified under three broad headings: the voice of the voiceless, alternative to the ruling government, and official opposition. A fourth role which has evolved out of the recent global political and economic realities is a critical partner in nation building.

As the voice of the voiceless, the opposition expresses the view of a significant section of the electorate and helps to ensure that concerns of the various groups and other interests not represented in government are not forgotten or trampled upon. It also serves as a vent for the pent-up expression of those whose grievances and voices would otherwise go unheard. This role builds the confidence of the people and reassures them that their concerns and interests are ably expressed and protected.

As I said earlier, properly functioning democratic systems are about choice. There must therefore be a constant reminder to the electorate that there is a viable alternative to the incumbent government. One that has a real or imagined potential to improve the quality of life of the people and let them realise their aspirations this is done by the opposition. In doing so, the opposition presents itself as a viable alternative to the ruling government. It may do this by presenting an alternative ideological platform or simply show that it has a greater competence to govern. Under this role the opposition is enjoined in its criticism to show that it could have done things better by offering cogent reasons for its criticism of the ruling government or by presenting policy alternatives.

The third role of the opposition flows out of the first two. It is from this role that it derives its name. It is the duty of the opposition to oppose the government in power. This is the most popular and often confused role. The opposition has the duty to oppose the government in power, but to what end? The ultimate purpose must be to persuade the electorate to vote out the incumbent government and put the opposition in power so that it may pursue the policies it believes are best for the nation. For this purpose the opposition will like to highlight and expose those aspects of the ruling government’s policies and nature, which it believes not to be in the national interest. The opposition must expose the other side of the coin that is not shiny and which government will otherwise prefer to hide from the public view. That is focus on the negative. This role is vital for protecting the society from the excesses and corruption of power that innately exist wherever executive power resides. In carrying out this duty, the opposition endeavours to challenge every abuse of executive power; bureaucracy and red tapism; issues of breaches of human rights; waste of public funds; and exposes all these for public or parliamentary criticism and control. This is essentially a watchdog role and is vital to check executive excesses and stimulate democratic debate. It is from the performance of this role that the negative perception of the opposition arises.

But as stated by John Diefenbaker, a former member of the Canadian Parliament, “the reading of history proves that freedom always dies when criticism dies”. In recent times, a new role is emerging from the global dictates of good governance and the dividends of democratic peace theory. In the new globalized world where there is strong recognition of universal human freedoms and rights, and where the concept of good governance is rapidly gaining a foothold, the exercise of executive power, and of course, the role of the opposition is subject to new tenets. Governments are enjoined to uphold the rule of law and protect human rights and freedoms. On the other hand, oppositions are expected to make room, space or allowance for cooperation and consensus building.

Under this new dispensation, the opposition must exercise circumspection in opposing government. This is particularly relevant to circumstances where there are eminent threats to the peace, security, democracy and psyche of the nation. The national interest, usually very difficult to decipher, should be supreme at all times. It is however not easy to decide on which issues consensus is necessary and when not to oppose in the national interest.

To effectively perform the roles as started above, the political system must bestow on the opposition some rights and responsibilities. The Opposition must have the right to operate in a free and democratic atmosphere. Laws that put fetters on freedom of association, speech, movement, assembly, manifestations and demonstrations are inimical to the existence of the opposition. The opposition must have access to state media. There must be equity in the coverage and reportage of opposition activities in relation to the coverage of activities of government and government institutions. All state owned media should afford fair opportunities and facilities for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions to both the government and the opposition.

The Opposition must also have the right to own media so that its views on any issue could be clearly articulated without undue interference. The Opposition must have the right to freely access materials from official sources to enhance its ability to meaningfully understand the government policies to enable it make informed position statements on the policies. A prerequisite for the enjoyment of this right is the existence of laws on freedom of information and the protection of informants.

The Opposition also has the right to have free access to the people. Laws that ban gatherings, rallies and durbars by opposition elements have no place in multi-party democracy and must be outlawed. Governments have become so complex and expensive. Areas of governance have expanded and Governments have trained civil servants and bureaucrats that handle all issues for them. Similar alternative technical support must be made available to the opposition. For Opposition to discharge its duty effectively, it must have equal rights to trained and outstanding scholars, consultants and technical experts in civil society as the government. Members of the opposition in Parliament must be accorded the same treatment and facilities as their colleagues in government. The national budget must capture legitimate opposition business.

The Opposition has certain responsibilities and obligations to discharge to the state and the people. Democratic governance has moved away from the concept of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition to that of responsible or constructive opposition. The opposition has the responsibility to be fair in the criticism of government policies. In all cases alternative proposals, as to the best way forward must be laid on the table by the opposition.
The Opposition also has the responsibility to uphold and defend the sovereignty, unity and the national integrity of the country. It should therefore not engage in activities that could undermine the unity and stability of the state. In matters of real national disaster or misfortune, the opposition has a responsibility to join hands with government to tackle the misfortune. In the same vain, in moments of national pride and glory the opposition also has the responsibility to come together with government to celebrate and show national solidarity. In a nutshell the opposition has an equal responsibility as the government to protect, defend and uphold the constitutional order, the rule of law and the peace and stability of the nation.

If democracy is to be preserved as a viable mode of governance, then the opposition must fearlessly perform its role. The opposition can perform its role fearlessly and effectively, only when it is recognised, accorded rights and enabled to act responsibly. Quintin Hogg, an outstanding member of the British Parliament once said “Countries cannot be fully free until they have an organised opposition. It is not a long step from the absence of an organized opposition to a complete dictatorship.” Traditional knowledge is replete with proverbs that justify the role of the opposition. In Ghana, it is aptly captured in a proverb which says, “It takes different colours of thread to weave a beautiful kente cloth”. In other words it takes different shades of opinions and ideologies to fashion a dynamic democracy. All what I have been saying about the role, rights and responsibilities of the opposition is to drive home the point that in a true democratic system, the opposition is as important as the government

Nigeria: Huge Debts Await Buhari and In-coming Governors, DMO Reveals

May 22, 2015

AFTER the euphoria of their electoral victories, one of the major challenges that will confront the President-elect, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), and 20 or 21 new governors is the level of debt stock the out-going administrations will leave behind.

According to the Debt Management Office, DMO, the Federal Government has a stock of $6.445 billion in external debt (N1.29 trillion at the rate of one dollar to N200)) and another N7. 9 trillion domestic debt totalling N9.19 trillion, as of December 31, 2014. This is the equivalent of two years budget.

The huge debt stock, if not properly managed, can hamper the delivery of democracy dividends.

According to external debt figures released by the DMO, Lagos State is the most indebted state in the country with a debt of $1,169,712,848.65 (N233.94 billion). The state had also borrowed N167.5 billion from the bond market. Thus, Lagos is owing at least N401.44 billion. This is one of the issues that Governor-elect, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode will confront when he takes over from Governor Babatunde Fashola, next month.

Among the 29 states where governorship elections were held last Saturday, new persons will take over in 20 states, if Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State is re-elected after the April 25 supplementary elections otherwise the number of newcomers will be 21.

The other states where fresh men will take over are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto and Taraba.

Most of these states are highly indebted. Following declining oil prices in the international market and inability to boost their internally generated revenue, many states, in addition to obtaining loans and overdraft from banks, had approached the capital market in the last four years to raise funds. The amount of money they borrowed through the issuance of bonds has tripled over the period, rising to N673 billion from N298 billion in 2011. About 12 states have issued bonds totalling N375 billion, surpassing the total bonds issued by all states in the country since 1978. Lagos State tops the list of borrowers from the bond market, at N167.5 billion. Rivers recently launched a N100 billion bond. Delta State is third with N50 billion. Others include Gombe (N30 billion), Ekiti (N25 bn), Niger N21 billion), Bauchi (N15 billion) and Benue (N13 bn).

As of last December, Nigeria’s total public debt stock, according to the DMO stood at about $67.73 billion and N11.24 trillion, which is about N1.2 trillion higher than the 2013 figure of N10.04trillion.

A breakdown of the figures showed that external debt, including those of the states, was $9.71 billion and N1.63 trillion. The Federal Government’s domestic debt was $47.05 billion and N7.9trillion, while those of the states stood at $10.97 billion and N1.708 trillion.

Most indebted states
Using the DMO’s external debt figures without adding domestic debts (see tables), Lagos tops the chart of 10 most indebted states in the country with $1.17bn or N233.94 billion debt. It is distantly followed by Kaduna (N46.88 bn), Cross River (N28.29 bn), Edo (N24.63 bn), Ogun (N21.83 bn), Bauchi (17.51 bn), Katsina (N15.79 bn), Osun (N14.81 bn), Oyo (N14.47 bn) and Enugu Fashola (N13.79).

Least indebted states
Leading the states with little exposure to multilateral and bilateral loans are Taraba (N4.56 bn), Borno (N4.61 bn), Delta (N4.85 bn), Plateau (N6.19 bn), Yobe (N6.25 bn), Benue (N6.62 bn), Abia (N6.76 bn), Zamfara (N7.11 bn) and Kogi (N7.16 bn).

However, if domestic debts are added, states like Taraba, Borno and Abia, which have not issued bonds are the least indebted. World Bank Consultant and Abia State Finance Commissioner, Dr Phillip Nto, said Abia State is reluctant to take bonds like many other states because it would mortgage the future of Abians.

He said: ‘’Ordinarily when you collect bond, you are mortgaging your future because you pay over a long period of time but our governor is one that feels that it is not proper to mortgage the future of the state. Abia State is trying to come out from the mess, the monumental difficulty which it was pushed into in early 2000, so for the state to be mortgaged again means that the state will be declared insolvent. It is the reason the governor (Theodore Orji) is not enthusiastic about going to the bond market. But what some other states are achieving with their bond money, Governor T.A. Orji is also achieving with the amount he gets from the federation account and the IGR.’’

South-West, North-West emerge as most indebted zones
Broken into geo-political zones, the South-West and North-West geo-political zones are foreign debt-most exposed zones. The South-West is owing N304.88 billion while the North-West has on its neck, a foreign debt of N106.61 billion.

Least indebted zones
Conversely, the South-East is the least indebted zone with a debt of N49.25 billion followed by North-East (N50.20 billion). Enugu is the most indebted state in the South-East with N13.786 billion debt. The legislative arm of the state government is currently at daggers drawn with the executive over a fresh N11 billion local debt. The South-South zone is owing N85.46 billion while the North-Central has to repay N56.77 billion.

Implications of FG’s debt
Analysing the Federal Government debt, the DMO said that the debt is sustainable as sustainability analysis showed that the debt/GDP ratio is 11.6 per cent and Nigeria is at a low risk of debt distress, if the reforms embarked upon by the present administration in key sectors were retained and fully implemented. The bulk of the federal government loans were concessionary with low interests and long moratorium. Currently, the Federal Government spends N700 billion yearly on debt servicing.

FG moves against ‘unproductive’ loans
Disturbed by the insatiable appetite of state governments for loans, the Federal Government, last year, directed Deposit Money Banks not to grant fresh loans to state governments unless they got approval and clearance from the Federal Ministry of Finance.

The Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, said the decision is not aimed at stalling the development efforts of the state governments, as alleged, but to protect the states from excessive accumulation of debts.

“The domestic debt profile of some states is scary. The states are so much in debt that only a small amount of their allocations get to them at the end of the day because most times money for debt servicing is removed from source,”

Addressing participants in Course 23 for security agents at the National War College, Abuja, Yuguda said most of the states have been experiencing difficulties in servicing their existing debts and it would not be advisable to allow them take fresh loans.

Rather, he stressed the need for the states to continue to look inwards for other sources of revenue to pursue their development programmes.
Source: Vanguard Newspaper
Nigeria Huge Debts

RIP OFF: Legitimate Salaries and Allowance of National Assembly Members

May 17, 2015

**RMAFC warns that any other allowances received are illegal
The Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has published details of legitimate salaries and allowances of National Assembly members and ministers.
In a public notice published in today’s edition of Daily Trust, signed by the commission’s acting secretary Usman I. Garndawa, RMAFC said it was providing the details “to avoid misinformation and misrepresentation of facts” in media reports.

The figures for legislators are similar to those published by Daily Trust on July 22 with few exceptions where the figures now provided by RMAFC are higher. But the commission faulted the lumping of all salaries and allowances into yearly totals, saying some of the entitlements are “non-regular” and paid once in four years.
National Assembly Salaries and Allowances
According to the public notice by RMAFC, lawmakers’ allowances include accommodation (Senator N4m, Rep N3.97m), vehicle loan (Senator N8m, Rep N7.94m), furniture (Senator N6m, Rep N5.956m) and severance gratuity (Senator N6.09m, Rep N5.956m), which are due once in four years.
Out of these figures, only the vehicle loan for members of the House of Representatives differs with what Daily Trust reported on July 22, which was N6.948m. While accommodation allowance is paid yearly, furniture, severance and car loan are paid once in four years, the commission said.
Annual allowances are motor vehicle fuelling and maintenance (Senator N1.52m, Rep N1.489m), constituency (Senator N5m, Rep N1.985m), domestic staff (Senator N1.519m, Rep N1.488m), personal assistant (Senator N506,600; Rep N496,303), entertainment (Senator N607,920, Rep N595,563), recess (Senator N202,640; Rep N198,521), utilities (Senator N607,920; Rep N397,042), newspaper/periodicals (Senator N303,960; Rep N297,781), house maintenance (Senator N101,320; Rep N99,260) and wardrobe (Senator N506,600; Rep N496,303).

Here, the difference with Daily Trust’s report is on member’s vehicle fuelling and maintenance (reported as N595,563), member’s constituency (reported as N1.687m), senator’s and member’s entertainment (reported as Senator N202,640, Rep N198,521) as well as wardrobe (reported as Senator N405,280; Rep N397,402). The Daily Trust’s July 22 report was quoting RMAFC’s documents dated February 2007.

Apart from recess allowance, these are paid in monthly installments, RMAFC said.
Other allowances are estacode (Senator $950, Rep $900) and duty tour allowance (Senator N37,000; Rep N35,000) payable “when applicable.” These figures are also higher than what Daily Trust reported on July 22.

Explaining the modalities of paying the salaries and allowances, RMAFC said: “Regular allowances are paid regularly with basic salaries while non-regular allowances are paid as at when due. For instance, furniture allowance and severance gratuity are paid once in every tenure and vehicle allowance which is optional is a loan which the beneficiary has to pay before the end of tenure. It is therefore wrong and misleading to add up allowances irrespective of whether they are regular, refundable or non-regular as the regular annual emoluments of political public office holders.”

But RMAFC warned that any other allowances received by the affected officials are illegal and the chief accounting officer should be held responsible.
“The commission also wishes to use this opportunity to state that any other allowance(s) enjoyed by any political, public office holders outside those provided in the Remuneration Act of 2008 is not known to the commission and the chief accounting officer should be held accountable,” RMAFC’s notice added.

The salaries and allowances for ministers and ministers of state now published by RMAFC are also similar to those contained in Daily Trust’s July 25 edition.
Source: Daily Trust, August 2013

With a national minimum wage of N18,000.00 per month, totalling N216,000.00 per annum, it will take the average Nigerian worker, 60 years and 44 years to earn the annual salary and allowances of a Nigerian Senator and Member of the House of Representatives respectively. This cannot be right and something urgent has to be done to slash the salaries and allowances of the members of the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly.
– Stephen Dieseruvwe

“Nigeria is too Poor for Leaders to Act Like Multi-Billionaires, and too Rich for the People to be so Poor” – Ben Murray-Bruce

May 12, 2015

Ben Murray Bruce (CEO Silverbird Television), will assume office as a senator for the first time come May 29th, as her desires to pursue his lofty dreams for Nigeria. At the Silverbird Awards, he made a powerful speech before Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, the governor of Delta State was crowned Silverbird’s Man of the year, an award he dedicated to the people of Delta who helped him achieve peace in the region throughout his eight year tenure. Uduaghan explained that he sacrificed his senatorial ambition for the interest of peace in the state.

Bruce who has stepped aside from his chains of businesses following his election took to the stage and delivered the following speech:
“First of all, let me thank all the recipients of the various categories of our awards tonight: those of you who have done great things for this great nation. All my life, I have always been attracted to public office. When I decided to run for public office, I was concerned about the poverty level in the land, and the inability of the federal, state and local governments to function at the level they ought to. In seeking public office, I looked at the national, state and local governments’ budgets. I tried to understand why Nigeria was not as developed as it ought to be. And what I saw was shocking and very alarming. Those of us in the private sector understand how we should run a company, and things we should do and the ones we shouldn’t do. At the federal budget, a couple of things shook me. For instance, one percent of the federal budget is spent on pilgrims for both Muslims and Christians; three percent of the national budget is spent for the National Assembly for 469 people; 30 percent is spent on 1.2 million civil servants; 88 percent is spent on recurrent expenditure while only 12 percent is spent on capital expenditure.

State governments have no money. Most states in this country today, if they were to be companies, they would have closed shop. And no company will lend them money. The federal government inclusive. To say that we are broke is an understatement. A few things must happen to enable us grow the economy, and we must shrink the way we spend money in this country.

The problem facing this country is not about the North versus the South, neither is it about Christianity versus Islam or APC versus PDP. Rather, the problem is ‘Right versus Wrong.” I was interviewed by Global Magazine recently, and they asked me about the problem of the North-east and South-South. I replied that the issue with the North-east is not about religion and that of the South-South is underdevelopment. It’s very simple, we are a small minority of people, the leadership of Nigeria, consuming all the resources of my people and leaving the rest of us in abject poverty.

That will not work. We must learn to be humble, learn to preserve what we have and learn also to be kind for the rest of us to have what to eat, and our children to go to school; providing health care facilities for everyone; education for the children, job creation and infrastructure development for our people. You don’t understand why young men of today have access to an AK-47 to kill us because we do not provide for them. We pay no attention to the least of us.

In our responses, we want to be living large; have more advisers, buy bullet-proof cars and have more body guards. That will not work. We must come together and understand that we must all grow and develop together as a people. Anyone you leave behind, you have created a problem for the rest of us. It’s not enough to send your children to study in Switzerland, and buy your houses in Dubai, live a life of extreme wealth and you expect those you left behind to clap for you.

They don’t do what I call the NTV generation. The past presidents could not shut down Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and you said they can shut down a hundred million people? You think, you are smart and your lifestyle is not being watched by those you govern? When you seek public office, you seek it to lead by example.

You don’t seek public office to play lord over the people who voted you into office. The world has changed, and we must change too. It is not just talking about change, we must have real change. And for us to change, we must understand what drives our people. There is too much hunger in the land.

So, let’s make a deal. Let’s say for instance, to reduce expenditure, only the President and the Vice President will fly 1st Class, while governors and ministers fly Business Class. When you travel abroad you don’t need to lodge in a $4000 hotel paid with the tax payers’ money. I have never stayed in a hotel that is more than $300 in my life, not because I cannot afford it but when I think, at the end of the month, I must pay my workers, pay taxes, how do I justify staying in a $4000 hotel room? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

I have never flown First Class in my life. As a young man I flew Business Class and I do so, on purpose. I have a choice but I choose to fly Business Class which is the right thing to do. You sit here and talk about nationalism and patriotism, and the lights are turned off, you spend over N1.5 million traveling to London. That amount of money will feed a whole family for a whole year. It makes no sense. The problem in Nigeria is the rich versus the poor. The crisis we have in this country is “a class warfare.”
Ben Bruce
In the next 35 years, if we do not control our consumption behaviour, the emerging generation will rise against us. The world has changed but we have not changed. When we go abroad to look for aids, in Britain, the man we speak to, my counterparts in the British parliament go to work by train and taxi.

Nigeria is too poor for our leaders to act like multi-billionaires, and Nigeria is too rich for the people to be so poor. I don’t like what is happening in the power sector as well as the energy sector. I do not wish to buy patrol and I do not wish to go to any gas station ever again. I want to drive a car powered by the sun. I asked Kia Motors to bring electrically powered car in this country. The reason I asked them to bring in the electrical car is because we need to be free.

In the senate, I’m going to sponsor a bill that will help every poor home in this country so that they can survive. I need your support, if my colleagues say no, you say yes. I want you people to tell my colleagues to create a billion Dollar fund to have solar power invented in every home in Nigeria, so that every child can watch television and listen to the radio. Every Nigerian has a choice as a Nigerian and as a politician. You are either a producer or you are a consumer.”

Culled From

Buhari Shocks APC Governors, Rejects Ministerial List

May 10, 2015

***Rejects ministerial list and claims such list has no constitutional backing.
***Rejects calls for bailout to states unable to pay salaries
***Advices them to source for good materials to help them run their states adequately
PRESIDENT-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari appeared to have dashed the hopes of the governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) when he rejected their plans to submit a ministerial list to him.
The APC governors, led by Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, had, last Tuesday, visited Buhari in Abuja to pledge loyalty and make some demands.
At the meeting, some requests were placed on the table openly, while the request to drop the list of possible ministers came up for discussion behind the closed door.
Sources close to the meeting between the governors and General Buhari indicated that the state chief executives came out of the visit with heavy minds.
Planning to maintain the tradition already instituted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where the state governors as party leaders in the states are requested to submit list of possible ministers and Ambassadorial appointees to the president, the governors threw the request at Buhari.Buhari6
But it was learnt that the General rejected the proposal and declared that the Constitution does not mandate him to take a list of ministerial nominees from them.
The president-elect was also said to have rejected the call for a bailout for the states that have been unable to pay salaries, with a source informing Sunday Tribune that the General flatly rejected the proposal, saying the he was aware the Federal Government was not owing the states their allocations.
A source close to the discussion told the Sunday Tribune that General Buhari told the governors that those of them in their second terms could not complain about the state of government finances, as they have all been collecting allocations from the Federal Government all along.
A source in the know said: “The governors practically went out of the visit with their tails between their legs. The General first threw aside the request that he grant bailout to the states. He told them that the governors going for second term in office cannot complain about the state of the economy, having collected all their allocations to date from the Federal Government. He ruled out the possibility of bailout.
“The General was also very unequivocal when he was told that the governors want to submit a ministerial list to him. He clearly said he cannot go into that discussion. He insisted that the Constitution does not mandate him to collect such list from the governors and that the state chief executives should concentrate on sourcing good materials that would help them run the states adequately.”
The source quoted Buhari as saying that “I do not think we can discuss that issue of Ministerial list. The Constitution clearly does not mandate me to take a list from the governors. To me, the governors should concentrate on getting good hands to help them in discharging their duties in the states.”
The APC governors had made a meal out of their meeting with General Buhari last week, with media reports indicating that they were in Abuja to submit ministerial lists to the president-elect. But the sources said that they left the meeting disappointed, as the General turned down their two major requests.
Culled from Tribune

Nigeria 2015 – 2019: What Should A Progressive Government Implement?

May 2, 2015

Nigeria 2015 to 2019 – What should a progressive government implement?
At the presidential elections of 2015, Nigeria elected a progressive government for the first time since 1993 following the annulment of the Moshood Abiola (Social Democratic Party) victory. Following one of the most trying times for Nigeria and one of the most unpredictable elections in the history of Nigeria, a democratic handover is set to take place for the first time.
It will be a monumental task to set down clear priorities to begin the process of restoring pride and place of Nigeria and setting a new direction for progressive change in the country. Numerous challenges face the nation, from security concerns, to corruption, inequality and abject poverty. We need to begin to identify not just immediate changes that can be achieved but more importantly, the long term path of progressive reforms. We want to collate views of some of our key thinkers to bring together the priorities for achieving real progressive change across a range of policy areas.
We are seeking papers on the topic of Nigeria 2015 to 2019 – What should a progressive Government implement? Essay should be no more than 1500 words and should explore ONE of the topics below.
We will compile the papers into a publication, which will be launched on 29th May 2015 to coincide with the inauguration day.
All essays must be submitted on or before 22nd May 2015 by email to:
Authors should provide a short personal profile and include a PHOTOGRAPH.
Only one article will be selected for each topic. Review and selection will be carried out by, Inno Koko, Nero Ughwujabo and Stephen Dieseruvwe.
Liberate - Call For Papers
Liberate - Call For Papers1


May 2, 2015

A Senator-elect from Kogi State, Dino Melaye, has vowed to champion a campaign for salary cut for federal lawmakers when the new National Assembly opens in June.

Mr. Melaye, a former member of the House of Representatives, joined many Nigerians to demand a reduction in the salaries of Senator and members of the House of Representatives, saying he will personally champion the cause.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr. Melaye said lawmakers must sacrifice their comfort and allow a pay cut, to yield money that could be used for developmental projects and proper oversight role.

Mr. Melaye was reacting to the announcement by the Kogi State government this week, of a 40 per cent pay-cut in the salaries of public and civil servants in the state. He blamed the Kogi State salary slash on bad governance. Mr. Melaye said workers in Kogi for years received a percentage of their salaries, and said the incoming All Progressives Congress, APC, government will address such abuse. “The APC has a guideline that controls every governor of every state and I can assure you that the issue of revenue generation will be taken care of by the party,” he said.

Hassan Omale, member-elect represent Ankpa, Omala, Olamaboro federal constituency in Kogi State, also said workers in the state had not been collecting complete salaries for a long time.
“In the Local governments, since the last three years they have not received their complete salaries, they have been suffering there,” he said.

Other Kogi lawmakers blamed the pay cut on reduction in monthly allocation to the state.
The governor, Idris Wada, had on Wednesday announced a 40 per cent pay-cut in the salaries of public and civil servants in the state as a result of dwindling revenue.
Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Jacob Edi, the governor said the state got N2.5 billion as allocation for April, while its monthly wage bill for the month was N3.2 billion.
Source: Premium Times
Dino MelayeSteve Protest - CorruptionT-Shirt


April 17, 2015

With the observed celebration that is happening, and Government-Contract/appointment-seekers, sycophants and praise-singers rendering Appreciation and Congratulatory Messages and Advert Publications to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on several tabloids across the nation over the ‘stolen Governorship mandate of Delta State; you all should be reminded that YOUR DAY OF RECKONING is coming sooner than you think.

The day you all will answer for all your crimes against humanity will come like a thief in the night to make you all pay. For how long will Governor Uduaghan and his cousin James Ibori and now Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, continue to deceive themselves; thinking they are deceiving the people of Delta State? For how long will the PDP Cabal led by Ibori and Governor Uduaghan continue to steal the political mandate of Deltans just to remain in power and misappropriate public funds? For how long will Governor Uduaghan and his cabal continue to oppress the common masses in Delta State and be happy with it? How do they sleep at night with their conscience, knowing that they have deprived Deltans from electing their political leaders; having stolen their mandates at the just concluded gubernatorial polls? Do they even have conscience at all? We seriously doubt it because if they do, they would not have jeopardized their peace of mind for just ‘ephemeral gains’ of life.

The fact is that the PDP cabal in Delta State led by Governor Uduaghan, his cousin James Ibori and Senator Ifeanyi Okowa should have allowed Deltans to have a free, fair and credible election during the Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly polls. The PDP political thugs that I saw with my naked eyes sharing money to people to vote the PDP while INEC officials pretended not to notice, on that day of the governorship election is absolutely evil. Not to mention how these PDP political thugs manipulated election results with the cooperation of INEC officials. We should ask ourselves this, why is the PDP cabal afraid of a free, fair and credible election in Delta State? The truth is that if elections are seen to be won genuinely, nobody will complain.

I would want those interested, to investigate and carry out their personal audit on what really happened in the last elections held in Delta State. Why should we have situations where the PDP cabal and their supporters bribing INEC officials and the poor Deltans on the day of the election with public stolen money so that they should vote for the PDP? Can anyone call that a free and fair election? Situations where snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes and manipulation of election results were very evident, can we call that an election? Situations where the use of Card Readers were selectively allowed in different communities to favour the PDP led Government in Delta State and their candidates, should the electoral umpire INEC, sit back and pretend that nothing happened? How can the votes cast in remote villages and scanty rural communities be more than the urban cities in Delta State? Who are the people living in the swampy and riverine communities that make up the outrageous figures that was supposedly collated in the Gubernatorial election in Delta State? Who are the people living in the Warri North of Delta State that voted the huge number recorded? The PDP cabal in Delta State should repent from all their evil deeds in the State.

It is funny that Governor Uduaghan and his cousin Ibori have been in Government House for 16 years now, yet, with only few weeks left to leave office, the Delta State Government only woke-up recently to start rushing to finish some road projects. Is this the best time to rush and do some jobs and roads that have been begging for attention for years? What have they been doing since? Despite its commercial viability, why is the oil city of Warri and environs still without an airport.

The Osubi Airstrip near Warri is just a private Airstrip. Today all the oil companies have relocated from Warri to neighboring States due to the “I don’t care attitude of Governor Uduaghan and his PDP cabal.” Where will all these stolen public wealth lead them to? In the whole of Delta central the PDP cabal of Ibori, Uduaghan and Okowa had paid those greedy politicians with stolen public money to hire thugs to intimidate and manipulate election results with INEC cooperation. Imagine them beating and intimidating their own brothers and sisters for the love of money.

In fact, it is needless to vote and campaign in Delta State. The best way to win elections in Delta State is for candidates to assemble all the miscreants and few greedy persons they can pay to snatch ballot boxes and fill all the Result Sheets and give to INEC to announce. The poor masses in Delta State have been suffering due to their misrule for the past 16 years in Delta State Government without accountability. By the grace of God, we believe Buhari will install discipline in the public/government sector. As we all know, the President-Elect Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(Rtd) is a disciplined and principled man with great reputation and integrity and who is willing to serve the Nigerian people with his heart and mind.

If the so called educated elites such as Governor Uduagahan and his fellow PDP cabal should depend solely on ‘stealing the political mandate’ of Deltans just to remain in power and protect their self-centered interests, then the Nigerian society is doomed. But we thank God the situation does not cut across other States. And with the new Federal Government under Gen Muhammadu Buhari(Rtd), we are very optimistic that the situation in Delta State will one day be reversed for good. And these set of ‘compromised-public-leaders will be made to pay dearly for all the sins they have committed against Delta State and its hardworking people. We believe God will use Buhari to make all of them answer the wrongs they have committed against Deltans.

It is very painful that Deltans could not have the political leaders they have so graciously elected to represent their interest just because the PDP Cabal have decided not to allow us experience free and fair election in the State.
The Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan is someone who has been privileged to travel far and wide since he entered politics. So he should tell Deltans, with what they (as the PDP cabal) are doing in Delta State for the past 16 years, is that how these thriving Democracies had emerged? Is that how the US, UK and other European nations have developed to what they are today? We all know the answer to these questions. But they should be rest assured that God will make all of them pay for all the atrocities committed against the common man in Delta State.

We know very soon they will go to a Church to offer Thanksgiving for their stolen political mandate. But do not be deceived for God is not mocked or moved by such ’empty’ activities. God will not accept such ‘stained’ Thanksgiving and there is no amount of praise-singing, celebration, thanksgiving or noise making that will blot out the fact that you all had stolen the political mandate of Deltans to keep yourselves in power and protect their self-centered interests.

The evidence that we have to prove that the current PDP led Government in Delta State is corrupt is simply the fact that when we compare who and what they were and had before they came into government with what they have now, we would realize they have practically soiled their hands with misappropriated public wealth. Even the Delta State Governor is not an exception. The evidence that proves their level of corruption is in the number of mansions, properties, wealth and affluence these so called PDP cabal have acquired since they have been in government, particularly those that have been in the PDP led Delta State Government in the last 16 years or so. Most of them do not even have their own personal houses before they joined the PDP Government but today, they practically own a whole street and properties and businesses across the country. We are not saying they should not progress in life, but when their salaries and emoluments do not correspond to current financial status and affluence of wealth, then something is wrong somewhere.

Please, those who are close contacts with the soon-to-be-outgoing Government of Delta State should advise Governor Uduaghan, Ibori and Okowa to repent genuinely from their evil ways and render an unreserved apology to the poor common masses of Delta State who they stole their votes from for the love of money and power. Governor Uduaghan and Ibori should apologize to the people without pride or shame.

Zik Gbemre,JP.
National Coordinator
Niger Delta Peace Coalition

We Mobilize Others to Fight for Individual Causes as if Those Were Our Causes
Niger Delta Peace Coalition