THE Delta State chapter of Parliamentary Staff Association has commended Victor Ochei, speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly for his leadership of the assembly. The commendation was made during a courtesy visit by the newly elected executive of the association to the speaker in Asaba.
McCartney Obrotu, chairman of the association, said Ochie deserved to be praised for introducing a comprehensive and transformational agenda in the administration of the state’s legislature. “From the inception of the first assembly till this present one, we have never experienced such monumental transformation in infrastructural and man power capacity development”.
Obrotu added that such an uncommon leadership style naturally begets loyalty and dedication. He assured that the staff of the state legislature will continue to do their best to support the legislators in the performance of their duties.
Ochei, in his response thanked the association for the courtesy visit. He said their continued support would strengthen his administration’s resolve to continue to invest more in manpower capacity development through trainings and seminars. Ochei also admonished the body to embrace the innovative programmes of his administration, as “it is aimed at ensuring that they are in tune with contemporary trends in enhancing governance.”
National Conference Is It
BEN Nwabueze, a professor of law and elder statesman, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan not to contest the 2015 presidential election. Instead, he advised the president to concentrate on transforming the country to make it more united and stronger through a conference of ethnic nationalities.
Nwabueze, who led a group known as the Patriots in a closed door meeting with the president, told State House correspondents that though Jonathan was eligible to contest, he should sacrifice the ambition for the greater good of the nation and become an instant hero. “I still believe that the problem of this country is national transformation. You cannot combine national transformation with contesting election. The two are so different, because once you get involved in the election campaigns, you undermine your authority to lead the nation for national transformation and I said if I were the president of Nigeria, I would restrict myself to serving the nation; to transforming this country; to creating a new Nigeria, creating a new society. That would be my concern and I would go down in history as a hero.
“So if Mr President does that, he would become an instant hero in this country, but it is for him to choose. If I were him, I would choose to become a hero, to lead the country into transformation and abandon the ambition of a second term, that is what I said and I still stand by it and that is what I would do if I were the President of the country, but unfortunately, I’m not.”
According to the professor, the group was in Aso Rock Villa to submit its position on the need for the convening of a conference of ethnic nationalities to tackle the multifarious problems of the country. “Briefly, we talked about the transformation of this country; what we said is that this country, the situation in which we have found ourselves today is in dire need of transformation. Its entire economy, the polity and the society would need to be transformed. We believe that the way to achieve that objective is through a national conference of ethnic nationalities in this country,” Nwabueze said. He said the group had done its research and discovered 89 ethnic nationalities, and that all the nationalities would have to come together on a conference table on how to live in peace, stability and security with the aim of achieving national unity.
In his response, President Jonathan said his administration had no objection to Nigerians coming together to discuss how they would continue to live together in peace and unity. He said there had been constant discussions within government on how to create an acceptable and workable platform for a national dialogue that would reinforce the ties that bind the country’s ethnic nationalities together and as well ensure that Nigeria’s immense diversity continued to be a source of strength and greatness.
“The limitation we have is that the constitution appears to have given that responsibility to the National Assembly. I have also been discussing the matter with the leadership of the National Assembly. We want a situation where everyone will key into the process and agree on the way forward,” he said.
Other members of the delegation were Kimse Koko, a professor, Ayo Adebanjo, lawyer and elder statesman, and Bola Kuforiji-Olubi, former chairman of the United Bank for Africa.
Nigerian Terror Suspect to be Extradited
A NIGERIAN suspected to be linked with Al-Qaeda, terrorist group, is to be extradited to face trial in the United States for terrorism related activities. An Abuja Federal High Court ordered the extradition of Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi on Wednesday, August 28, following the extradition application filed before the court by the federal attorney general of the federation and minister of justice. Justice Ahmed Mohammed, who granted the order, said Babafemi, 32, did not oppose the extradition application and therefore, should be handed over to the US government within 15 days of the approval of the extradition order.
“Since there is no form of objection to the application from the respondent, this court is satisfied that the application is in order,” Mohammed said. According to the judge, Babafemi would be kept in the custody of the State Security Service until he is handed over to the US authorities. The US mission in Nigeria also on Wednesday, said in a statement that the US Department of Justice had ‘unsealed’ an ‘indictment’ on Tuesday, August 27, on Babafemi in the federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging him with “providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation – al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.’’ The US government is also pressing criminal charges of “using high-powered firearms in furtherance of that crime” against Babafemi, who is also said to be known as “Abdullah” and “Ayatollah Mustapher.”
He was charged with “conspiracy to provide support to a foreign terrorist organisation, provision and attempted provision of material support to a foreign terrorist organisation, unlawful use of firearms and conspiracy to unlawfully use firearms.” On conviction, each of the offences attracts a minimum sentence of 10 years and maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The US-based terrorism suspect was said to have fled to Nigeria when he realised that he was to be arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was, however, arrested in Nigeria and detained by the SSS. Babafemi is also accused of belonging to the “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” an affiliate of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. He was alleged to have travelled to Yemen between January 2010 and August 2011 to train with the group and relate with its senior members, including the now deceased Anwar al-Aulaqi and Samir Khan.
Tackling Unemployment Nightmare
CHRISTOPHER Kolade, chairman, Subsidy Reinvestment and Employment Programme, SURE-P, has raised the alarm that no fewer than 40 million Nigerians were unemployed. Speaking in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State, on Wednesday, August 28, kolade expressed worries over the high rate of unemployment in the land, but assured would that SURE-Pdo its best in the circumstance.
Kolade spoke through Emeka Ekpunobi, technical assistant, Community Services, Women and Youth Employment of SURE-P, during a one-day stakeholders sensitisation programme on Graduate Internship Scheme, GIS, by SURE-P in collaboration with Kalends Consulting. He said the SURE-P was a platform through which the federal government planned to reduce unemployment. “ The issue of job creation is a very critical one which, over the years, has posed a challenge to governments at different levels. It was in recognition of this that President Goodluck Jonathan mandated SURE-P to marshal out intervention programmes to address this challenge. Through the GIS, we have the mandate to create 50,000 jobs,” Kolade said, adding that one of its objectives was to make most Nigerian graduates employable through training and mentoring.
Peter Parka, the project director of the GIS, in his submission said: “Government is concerned about this high unemployment rate and is doing everything possible to reverse it. The challenge of graduate unemployment is the inability to absorb the nearly 300,000 graduates churned out by our tertiary institutions each year.”
PDP Holds Convention
THE much talked about national convention of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, holds on this Saturday, August 31. The special convention would elect officials to fill the gaps created by the resignation of some members of the National Working Committee, NWC, on June 20, this year. The resignations followed the verdict of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that the affected PDP officers were not validly elected as stipulated by the party’s own regulations. The INEC, in its report on the conduct of the national convention of the PDP of March 24, 2012, said: “The mode of election adopted for single candidates was not in accordance with the mode of election stipulated in paragraph 6.5 (i) of the guidelines for the conduct of the year 2012 congresses and national convention and therefore not acceptable to the commission.”
The commission therefore, declared that only four NWC members were duly elected while the rest were elected outside the guidelines set for the convention. Those who were found to have been properly elected were Bamaga Tukur, national chairman; Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former national secretary; Bode Mustapha, former national auditor, and Bolaji Anani, national financial secretary, Mustapha has since been replaced by Adewale Adeyanju as national auditor. Oyinlola’s case is still in court. At the convention, the party would be expected to fill 21 vacant positions with 84 candidates in contention.
The special convention planning committee headed by Jerry Gana, former information minister, was set up by the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC at its meeting, held on June 20. Other members of the committee are Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, deputy chairman; Aminu Wali, a former ambassador, co-deputy chairman; Ike Ekweremadu, deputy Senate president, secretary and Musa Babayo, former acting national secretary of the PDP, deputy secretary.
Ochei On Support for Uduaghan
| By Vincent Nzemeke |
DELTANS have been urged to support the Emmanuel Uduaghan led administration in order to ensure the implementation of the three point agenda that will enhance development in all parts of the state. The call was made by Victor Ochei, speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, at an interactive session with journalists at the end of an inter-denominational service at the Living Faith Church, Effurun, to mark the 22nd anniversary of the state.
Ochei said the state had witnessed monumental and transformational developments in various sectors since Uduaghan took over the reins in 2007. He cited education and human capital developments as some of Uduaghan’s achievements. Ochei also commended Uduaghan for engaging indigenous contractors to handle projects in various parts of the state. He added that such initiatives have helped in solving unemployment problems because the contractors also employ people to work with them.
Ochei assured that the state’s legislature would continue to collaborate with the executive in ensuring that the people enjoyed the dividends of democracy through progressive legislation.
— Sep. 9, 2013 @ 10:00 GMT