THE Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, CANAN, would want Nigerian Christians everywhere in the world to take a keen interest in the proposed national dialogue so as to help the country to move forward. “We as Christians should consider our involvement in such national issues as critical to the emergence of a true and democratic nation where sustainable development and the socio-economic well being of the people would become the true focus of those in government,” a statement by the association said on Monday, November 11.
The CANAN said Christians should no longer merely be spectators, but advocates of ethical standards and equity in the polity. The association said the national conference could only derive legitimacy if allowed to express the democratic will of the Nigerian people and that government should avoid the pitfalls of similar exercises which ended as a mere waste of national time and resources.
It said for the outcome of the conference to derive legitimacy, it should be presented to Nigerians through a referendum “to allow them express their Sovereign will and rights freely for the first time on the subject of Nigeria’s nationhood, for which the conference is being called.”
The association said the federal government should ensure a fair selection procedure of delegates to the conference, preferably drawn from the existing six geo-political zones in the country.
Above all, the association would want the full participation of Nigerians including those in the Diaspora. “It would be reasonable and, in fact, the right thing for the federal government to adopt a similar strategy that the African Union adopted when the AU named Africans in the Diaspora its 6th Sub-regional grouping in an effort to integrate that critical group of Africans into its plans. CANAN wants the federal government of Nigeria to adopt Nigerians in the Diaspora as the country’s 7th “zone,” for this Conference and for subsequent national development planning. We shall be praying for a truly successful Conference, free of any divisive undertones and fears,” the CANAN said.
Wooing Minna Generals into APC
THE All Progressives Congress, APC, leadership took its consultation and membership drive to Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, both retired heads of state, in Minna, Niger State, on Wednesday, November 13. The two generals were met separately in their houses in the capital city. The meeting with Babangida was said to have lasted for about 30 minutes while that with Abubakar was put at about 40 minutes.
After the closed-door meeting, Babangida told the press that the APC leaders, who are mostly his age-long friends and boss, were in his house to discuss the welfare, education, security and how to develop Nigeria in order to leave a better legacy for the younger generations. Besides, he said, there was nothing wrong in him fraternising with any party of his choice. “Nigeria is bigger than the PDP. They came to talk about Nigeria and how to move the nation forward and there is nothing wrong in opening my doors for them because my doors are always open to anyone that comes to consult with me on how to move the nation forward and the APC leaders are concerned with the welfare of the nation,” he said.
Besides, he said, the APC leaders visited him “to discuss the welfare of the country, which should be the responsibility of every Nigerian – whether you belong to a party or you do not have a party, you have an assignment to protect the integrity of the country.”
Abubakar on his part, disabused the minds of journalists who thought he might want to be part of the new party. He said shortly after the visit: “I cannot be wooed by the APC as I have never been a politician. I am not a politician, and I don’t need to be wooed.’’ Abubakar said although he was not a politician, he was free to discus and fraternise with politicians who have the progress of the country at heart. He said his own meeting centred on the amalgamation of the new party, how they were doing, how far they had gone and how things were moving, adding that he only used the opportunity to advise them on how to move the country forward without violence.
On the delegation were Bisi Akande, interim national chairman; Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State and national leader of APC, Muhammadu Buhari, retired general and former head of state, Aminu Bello Masari, former speaker, House of Representatives, Hassan Lawal, former minister of works and Sharon Ikeaso, interim national woman leader of the party, among others.
House Committee Summons Anyim, Adoke, Okonjo-Iweala
ANYIM Pius Anyim, secretary to the federal government, Mohammed Adoke, attorney general of the federation and minister of justice; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, minister of finance, Musa Sada, minister of land and housing, as well as members of the former and current technical boards are to appear before the House committee on public accounts between November 27 and 29, over alleged N13 billion scam in Federal Housing Authority. The committee said it would want to know the various roles of those alleged to have disbursed the funds.
Adeola Olamilekan, chairman of the House committee, disclosed this on Wednesday, November 13, when the FHA team led by Terver Gemade, managing director, could not explain how N13 billion of tax payers’ money was spent. According to the House report, N7.21 billion was granted as loan from the federal government for the construction of housing units to accommodate civil servants at the Gwarinkpa 2 Estate in Abuja, between 2007 and 2009 financial years. But the auditor-general to the federation, alleged that it was diverted into the construction of infrastructural facilities which were not budgeted for and that the loan had remained unpaid despite reminders to the FHA boss for payment.
Also to be accounted for is another N1 billion said to be an interest for a period of 24 months of the agency’s loans. The FHA was similarly accused of declaring N3.72 billion as deficit operating surplus which the managing director of the FHA attributed to a large board that had contributed to the high operating cost over the years. The agency was also accused of obtaining unapproved loan of N1.038 billion from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria as against the Act setting it up which limited its loan capacity to only N200,000.00.
The AGF also alleged that several payment vouchers amounting to N338million were missing, which the FHA management could not give account of.
However, defending himself, Gemade said that most of the transactions happened before he assumed office in 2009. Gemade said that the loan of N1billion obtained from FMBN had been fully paid while that of the outstanding interest of N7billion was yet to be paid and that arrangement had been for its payment.
— Nov. 25, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT