In an assuring mood, Abia South senatorial aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chinedu Onyeizu, has said that if he is given ticket to contest against Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, he is confidence ofo retiring him, adding that because the incubent Senator helped Nnamdi Kanu out of detention cannot safe him.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, the 38 year-old senate aspirant, said that he is banking on the NotTooYoungToRun Act to mobilise Abia youths to retire Abaribe from the senate, promising to empower the youths, provide the needed dividend of democracy.
“That he helped Nnamdi Kanu out of detention does not give me edge over me. It is not enough. I am concerned about the hopelessness of the youths of the Senatorial district, the bad roads in the community, lack of empowerment of the youths and these are more important to my people,” he said.
“The purpose of this press conference is to inform you and Nigerians at large that something is happening right now in Abia State. There is a wind of change blowing across the southern precincts of God’s Own State.
“The people of Abia South are ready for this change. Old and young, market men and women, students, artisans and the rural folk are ready for this change. I am ready to bring this change to Abia South, so that my people may have a strong voice in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly from 2019.
“Change that is now necessary because Abia South senatorial zone has been running in circles for too long. Because for too long, we have replaced purposeful leadership with selfishness and lack of direction. Because issues that matter to most of my people are yet to be settled.
“In the 2019 senatorial election, the people of Abia South have said loud and clear that they have had enough of the same old breed politicians who never fulfilled their election promises. They deserve better. That is why I dare to bring about change. I believe that now is the time to bring about that change.
“I am committed to do things differently if elected. I believe I have what it takes to offer qualitative representation at the Senate. I will leverage my training in political affairs, management of people and resources garnered from reputable institutions around the world and a robust track record of accomplishments to deliver on my promises.
“Many a time people have asked me why at 38 I want to start my political career from the senate. My answer has been simple! I have the skills, qualifications, innovative spirit and the passion to positively impact on lives with any position that I occupy.
“The youths could be the agents of development that our country needs to achieve a breakaway from deprivation and lack that afflict us if their talents are tapped. But we the youth also have to demonstrate that we are ready to put our talents and competences at the disposal of national interest so that we can be the catalyst that is needed to speed up the process of change that we desire.
“Though the task may be daunting yet, we need to step out boldly with a mind-set that we can achieve it and the courage that elsewhere people have achieved it even when they didn’t have all that is required,” he noted.
“We have received trainings designed for a great future of humanity. Training that are fast changing the way business are done, how we communicate with each other and how to leave a happier and eventful life. We also have the demographics to make meaningful impact.
“These trainings are the most critical elements in terms of requirements for high offices. We cannot run away from the fact that in the nearest future, the baton of leadership will be handed over to us whether we like it or not.
“Therefore, I am stepping out to seek nomination of All Progressives Congress on October 2, 2018 to fly the flag of this great party as Abia South senatorial zone representative in the Senate come 2019.
“The time has come for someone to take on responsibilities that will encourage Nigerian youths to actively participate in leadership of this great nation. I am ready to take on this challenge! It can’t be done without you. Let’s work together and make the positive impact that our country deserves.”
CISLAC Demands Independent Probe into $5 Million Bribery Allegation
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), the National Contact for Transparency International (TI), has expressed concern over the committee set up by the Kano State House of Assembly to investigate the recent $5million bribery allegation attributed to the State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, as displayed in a widely shared video clip. This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Director, CISLAC Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
While CISLAC commended the effort and ability of the Kano State House of Assembly at setting up an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged bribery, Rafasanjani said “we are worried that the outcome of such investigation would not command public trust and credibility respect except if handled by independent and competent ICT professionals with track record of integrity.
“We are confident an independent inquiry outside the instrumentality of Kano State governance structure will to a large extent assure Nigerians of fearless fact-findings on the true nature of the video clip in fulfilment of the Federal Government’s readiness to combat corruption within and outside the ruling party.We must, therefore, reiterate that anything short of an independent investigation would seem stage-managed before the public” Rafasanjani said.
Rafsanjani said that we are also not unaware of the infringement of human rights, intimidation and harassment of the whistle-blowers and citizens who stepped out to peacefully protest this allegation against the Governor. We find this disheartening and reiterates our persistent demand for the adoption of a Whistle-blower Protection Law Citizens’ right to freedom of association and expression should in no way be muzzled in this issue.
And called on the President and the Inspector General of Police to guarantee the rights of the people for a peaceful protest and ensure lives are secured.
We call for the Governor to immediately step aside to allow high level transparency, accountability and rule of law in the process of the investigation and prevent possible influence of the “fact-findings”. This will guarantee fairness and discourage undue interference in the investigation.
Rafsanjani also call on the National Assembly and anti-corruption agencies to live up to the expectations and trust placed in them by Nigerians in ensuring perpetrators of corrupt practice are brought to book, while guaranteeing adequate protection for whistle-blowing effort through enabling policies implementation and transition into legislation.
“We also call on the Ruling Party to stay silent on the issue if the party is really going to be believed that it is fighting corruption” he said.
Rafsanjani assured that CISLAC remains committed to monitoring the government at all levels to ensure that she fulfils her promises to the citizens of our great country.
Fayose must not die in your custody, Frank warns EFCC
…Accuses Buhari of persecution
The immediate past Deputy National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Timi Frank, has strongly condemned the continued detention of immediate past Governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose, by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), warning that no harm must happen to the former governor.
Frank said the alarm is necessary because of the information available to him that the agency has been instructed ‘by the powers that be’ to either poison or render the outspoken politician (Fayose) incapacitated ahead of the 2019 general elections.
In a statement released on Wednesday in Abuja, Frank wondered why somebody who voluntary released himself to the agency should be kept in custody more than 24 hours.
The former APC spokesman said that in as much as he will never support corruption, justice must be done to all and sundry.
Frank revealed that Fayose is being held by the EFCC not because of any currupt act but because of his outspokenness against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC.
He wondered “why former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engr. Babachir Lawal was not detain over allegation of grasscutting scandal, why EFCC refuse to invite the wife of the President Aisha Buhari over recent allegation involving his ADC, why MTN scandal involving Chief of Staff to the President is not investigated, why NNPC scandal involving the GMD Kanti Baru and why allegation of corruption against the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomohle does not interest the agency, among so many others in the ruling party.
“The truth is that once you are not a member of APC, you are corrupt but once you join the evil party, your sins are forgiven,” he state.
On the plan to render Fayose incapacitated, Frank said: “A Senior staff of the agency last night had to call attention of some opposition leaders to the instruction given to the agency by the presidency to ensure that Fayose does not leave EFCC custody a healthy person.
“Another operative early this morning also informed us that a healthy Fayose who walked into headquarters of EFCC yesterday was seen vomiting this morning. I called on Nigerians to pray for Fayose because the evil plan of APC government against the PDP leader is not known yet.”
Frank, who urge the former governor not to eat or drink anything coming from the operative of EFCC, also called the attention of the international community to what he described as a selective manner in which President Buhari is fighting corruption in Nigeria.
Mining Union faults FG on planned sale of ASCO, wants CBN Gov sacked
The umbrella body responsible for the affairs of mines workers in Nigeria, the Nigerian Union of Mines Workers (NUMW) has called for the resignation or outright sack of the Governor of the Central Bank (CBN) of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele over what it described as the inability of the apex financial institution to articulate policy measure that will lead to the rejuvenation of the moribund Federal-Government owned Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCO), adding that government’s disposition to selling ASCO, a decision supported by the CBN, reflects the intellectual poverty of the country’s apex financial institution.
It could be recall that while briefing the Nigerian delegation at the end of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Group meetings in Bali, Indonesia, recently, Emefiele said Ajaokuta Steel Company and other national assets will be sold to service the 2018 deficit budget.
While describing ASCO as the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization which must be nurtured and prioritized as an emblem of National Pride, the National President of the Mining Union, Comr. Hamza Mohammed called on government to ensure that ASCO remains under domestic ownership and control, adding that countries which developed their indigenous steel sectors have become better for it.
He tasked Emefiele and the Minister of Finance to articulate a policy direction for the funds needed to resuscitate ASCO, he called on the Senate to intervene by ensuring that the nations institutions in the finance sector work toward articulating a poly measure to address the problem.
“The Nigerian Union of Miens Workers entirely kicks against any form of sale or transfer of ownership of ASCO to foreign bodies or organizations as it is not the best for the development of Nigeria’s industrial sector,” he said.
Hamza who commended the Nigeria Metallurgical Society (NMS) and other professional bodies in the sector for condemning the idea of selling ASCO, called on the federal government to urgent articulate policy measures for the utilization of ASCO in the industrialization of Nigeria, adding that unless Nigeria develops her industrial sectors, it will not be able to play big in the committee of nations.
Hamza noted that it is not a good policy proposal to say that ASCO should be sold for the purpose of financing the 2018 budget, adding that only a mindless government will sell such a highly strategic institution to finance a year’s budget.
While stating that “the industrialization of ASCO, National Iron Ore mining Company (NIOMCO), Delta Steel Company (DSC) and the development of Nigeria’s iron and steel sector have never been negotiable and is still not negotiable, and will never be negotiable,” Hamza warned that the National Executive Council of the Mining Union will soon convene to deliberate on the necessity of embarking on a nationwide strike action if government does not heed the clarion call to shelve plans of selling the steel complex.
Hamza said: “It is socially, industrially and economically injurious to Nigeria to transfer in any way the ownership and control of ASCO to any individual or corporate entity,” adding that the federal government must ensure that it retains one hundred percent ownership and control of the systems.
Hamza who explained that Nigeria’s current economic challenges are the result of the failure of various governments to utilize the country’s human and natural resources, adding that government must act beyond the rhetoric of saying that ASCO can create huge number of jobs. “We know that ASCO can create huge number of jobs and we know that government also knows that, what we want government to do is to resuscitate ASCO so that it will deliver the beautiful promises of the sector to Nigerians.”
“No country can join the rank of super powers unless it develops its steel sector. I expect that government knows that the development of a country’s steel sector is will ignite the development of all industrial sectors of the country’s economy,” he said, and explained that it is only when ASCO begins the production of liquid steel that Nigeria can become a manufacturer of steel products like motor vehicles, airplanes and various steel instruments that symbolize national power and glory.
Discussing the strategic nature of ASCO to the industrial development of Nigeria and the African continent, Hamza said: “The Mining union laments that government handles with levity the importance of ASCO,” saying that ASCO is reputed as the largest steel plant in Africa.
Discussing other advantages of resuscitating ASCO, Hamza noted that apart from being able to generate more than five hundred thousand direct and indirect jobs, ASCO has the ability to become a major revenue earner for the government while also improving the Nigerian economy, if resuscitated.
Recalling one of the campaign promises that thrilled the union during the electioneering campaign of General Muhammadu Buhari, Hamza said Gen Buhari has assured that the steel sector will be developed as a major revenue earner for the country. He therefore tasked the federal government to live up to expectation of Nigerians in the steel sector saying that if ASCO is sold, it will augur well for the industrial development of Nigeria.
While calling on government to stop the exportation of unprocessed solid minerals, Hamza stressed the need to ensure value addition to solid minerals before they are exported to other countries, adding that a lot of jobs will be created for Nigerians if government effectively outlaws the export of processed solid minerals.
While he lamented that Nigeria suffers huge revenue losses when businessmen foreigners mine and export undeveloped solid minerals, he said government must exercise the strong will requisite for the resuscitation of ASCO, stating that if ASCO was resuscitated, steel raw materials will be mines and used to feed the production needs of the integrated steel complex.
“It is only when Ajaokuta Steel Company is resuscitated, the iron ore is mined in Itakpe would be easy moved to ASCO for onward use in the production of steel,” he said.
While he specifically noted that the potentials of the Nigerian steel industry have dastardly abused by foreign nationals, notably Indians, who were entrusted with the task of managing it, he tasked the Buhari administration to activate its institutions to develop a framework for the urgent activation of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Delta Steel Company and the National iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), Itakpe, stating that apart from these, government should stair up the interest of the organized private sector to participate in the development of the country’s steel sector.
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