THE federal executive council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday, March 18, approved the report of the 2014 National Conference
Pius Anyim, secretary to the government of the federation and Edem Duke, minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, disclosed this while briefing the State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting. Anyim said the FEC’s approval was the first leg of concrete steps aimed at implementing the conference report.
He said that apart from the report, the national conference also recommended to the government how to implement the recommendations and resolutions, and that what the meeting did was to adopt the recommended modalities.
The SGF said that recommendations and resolutions on the constitutional amendment and enactment of new laws would be forwarded to the National Assembly for promulgation into law. He said Mohammed Adoke, SAN, attorney-general of the federation, had been asked to compile, vet and make such recommendations available to the president for onward transmission to the National Assembly for enactment into law.
“So, today, we are taking steps towards implementing the resolutions of the national conference and we believe that the vision of Mr. President in setting up the conference and the wonderful work done by eminent Nigerians who attended the conference in producing the report, the resolutions and recommendations, would be given consideration. We also believe our country will benefit immensely from the work of this conference,” Anyim said.
Election Dates Sacrosanct – Jega
ATTAHIRU Jega, chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, on Wednesday, March 18, said there would be no going back on the March 28 and April 11, general elections. Jega, who spoke at a dialogue session held by a coalition of civil society organisations, under the auspices of the Civil Society Room, Situation Room, promised that this year’s election would not only be better than that of 2011, but the best in the nation’s history.
The INEC boss said the agency was fully prepared for the election that would meet the people’s standard and aspiration. “As far as we are concerned, we are fully prepared for the elections… We have identified the gaps that needed to be filled and we have filled all those gaps. All the national commissioners are now in the field to assess the level of preparedness; they are covering the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
“We are very pleased to note that we used the six weeks period to firm up our preparations. If we had done the elections on February 14th, we would have done it with a collection rate of 67 percent of PVCs. But as at now, we have 11 states that have attained over 91 percent collections while most have attained over 80 percent and above collection rate.
“We believe that the 2015 elections would be much better than that of the 2011. In fact, we believe it would be the best elections ever conducted in this country,” he said.
On the security situation in the country, Jega disclosed that he spoke with the National Security Council on Tuesday on the remaining concerns and that he was assured that the security agencies would be able to provide adequate security. “We were told that it is only about three local government areas that are still being held by the insurgents. We are in collaboration with the security agencies to arrest known political thugs across the states to avoid a reoccurrence of the post election violence that occurred in 2011,” he said.
Eight New Ministers Step In
THE new eight ministerial nominees cleared by the National Assembly were sworn-in by President Goodluck Jonathan shortly before the weekly federal executive council, FEC, meeting in Abuja, on Wednesday, March 18.
Prominent among them were Musiliu Obanikoro of Lagos State, who was a former minister of state for Defence before resigning to contest the governorship primary in Lagos State last October, was assigned as the minister of state II in the Foreign Affairs ministry.
Joel Ikenya of Taraba State was named as the minister of Labour; Hauwa Lawan of Jigawa State was given the portfolio of minister of state for Niger Delta Affairs; Kenneth Kobani (Rivers State) was named as minister of State for Trade and Investment.
The rest were Patricia Akwashiki (Nasarawa State), now the minister of Information; Nicholas Ada (Benue State) is the new minister of state I for Foreign Affairs; Augustine Akobundu (Abia State) was named minister of state for Defence while Fidelis Nwankwo (Ebonyi State) is the new minister of state for health.
Khaliru Al-Hassan, who had been supervising the health ministry since Onyebuchi Chukwu, former substantive minister, resigned to contest election in Ebonyi State, was named as the minister of health.
The president also swore in Jonah Madugu as the commissioner representing Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa in the Federal Civil Service Commission and Abimbola Hundehin as a commissioner in the National Population Commission.
Jonathan said the ministers were coming in at a challenging time and an ‘injury time’ as in a football match and should do everything to shine. “For the ministers, this is an ‘injury time.’ It is like bringing a player when you have just five minutes to go in a football match. So, everyone wants to know what that player will do; the magic the player will perform within that short period. The player himself will be struggling to, at least, kick the ball before the end of the game.
“So, you are coming in at a quite challenging period and I believe that a number of people will not envy you because government is coming to a close. But sometimes, it is even good to come at this time because you are now well exposed to Nigerians. “Your dancing steps will be watched by everybody and we believe you will dance well,” Jonathan said.
And for the commissioner, he admonished: “For the member of the Federal Civil Service Commission, civil service is key; it is the engine room of government. The greatest problem that people complain about is the issue of discipline, etc in the service. I believe that with you coming to join others, you will continue to modernise the Federal Civil Service.
“Of course, population is key for the National Population Commission. We are thinking of how to go for another head count. And every country wants to know the exact population for the purpose of planning and all that. I believe it is a good team and listening to your citations all of you are eminently qualified to hold any office in this country. And we believe that you will join us to serve our nation.”
Buhari, Ministers to Declare Assets If Elected
GENERAL Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, has promised the nation that he would declare his assets and liabilities once elected and sworn into office. He also said all members of his cabinet and appointees would be asked to do same. Buhari spoke through Osita Okechukwu, the APC spokesman in South-East zone, on Wednesday, March 18, after a road show in Enugu to sensitise the people on how he intended to run a transparent government.
Okechukwu also claimed that the Buhari administration would inaugurate the National Council on Procurement as stipulated in the Procurement Act, and Igbo nation that he would also stand by his pledge to revamp coal in Enugu, if elected as president, noting that his word was his bond.
He said: “Buhari is very passionate to create jobs for our youths and strongly feels that the best way to create jobs in this region is to revamp Enugu coal, which has been abandoned since the civil war.”
On the issue of insurgency and insecurity, Okechukwu said Buhari served the country meritoriously in the military to the highest level, and recalled how he crushed the Maitasine insurgents, a violent rabid sect like Boko Haram and chased away Chadian military.
— Mar. 30, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT