The leadership of New Nigeria Collective (NNC), a non-government, non-profit making organisation, yesterday, at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, reviewed the state of the nation, coming at a time the federal government marked its fifth year in office and the first of the second term of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The NNC noted without biases, the weight of the challenges that are currently besetting governments at all levels in the country and concluded that while the room for improvements and inexcusable delivery of promises palpably points to itself, it has not been a poor journey after all, especially, if the situations in other climes are factored into account side-by-side with the current global health challenge, the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was against this backdrop and the growing malcontents amongst a majority of Nigerians, that the NNC objectively dissected the Buhari administration and clearly pointed out THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY markers that have become the talking points in the last five years.
The NNC also noted without reservation that its resolve to look at the last five years of the administration in totality as against the last one year was borne out of the reality that countries have been challenged significantly by Covid-19 in the last few months, some dating back to late last year.
To that extent, no genuine assessment could be based on the last one year of the administration, when evidently something else had taken attention away from the familiar good governance and
the development of the nation. It’s therefore safe for both the government and the people to look at the administration holistically.
Thus, the NNC, at its NEC observed the following:
- That the response of the Government to the Covid-19 pandemic has been commendable, particularly its successful handling of the same contrary to some of the predictions of doom and gloom by both the local and international observers/experts. The NNC alo noted with a sense of appreciation and motivation, the dedication, commitment and honesty of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who as the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, has led the nation thus far and successfully so. Mr. Mustapha is a positive example of a public servant.
- That the recent reductions in the pump prices of petroleum products by the administration three times in a row following the slump in the global price of crude oil was a good move, which spoke to the sensitivity of the government to the plight of the people. The NNC equally commended the recent removal of subsidy from petroleum products as a result of the changing global indices, despite its dwindling fortunes.
- That the NNC recalled that upon resumption of office of the administration, the economy was plunged into recession but that through conscious, critical and tough choices, as well as positive thinking, the administration survived and crawled out of recession and consequently, stabilised the economy.
- That the NNC collectively stated that whilst the administration might not have achieved much in terms of economic gains, it sure has put the nation on a better pedestal as far as infrastructure development is concerned in spite of earning less compared to the previous administrations. The
NNC alluded to the nationwide railway construction, the 2nd Niger Bridge, repairs and conspicuous rehabilitation of major expressways in the six geopolitical zones as well as the evident developments in the aviation sector.
- That the NNC commended the recent financial autonomy granted state Houses of Assemblies and the Judiciary. This, the NNC, contended would go a long way in charting a completely different path, not only for the present crop of office holders, but for democracy to thrive better.
- That the NNC applauded the synergy amongst the three arms of government. Unlike what obtained in the past, the three arms of government not only work together now, they are consistently looking in the same directions in nation’s interest, notwithstanding some of the misgivings that have attended this rare camaraderie.
- That the NNC further noted the recent financial autonomy granted local government administrations in the country, thus liberating them from the claws and undue interference from state governments
- That the NNC took judicial notice of the repeated bailouts of states in financial distress. That the Ministry of Budget and Planning, with the cooperation of the National Assembly, has successfully returned the budget to the January to December cycle is worthy of note, as it now allows for prompt response and planning by those whose activities are directly and indirectly affected by the budget.
- That the NNC described the developments in the Agriculture sector as mind-blowing, noting also that the school feeding programme of the government is a plus that cannot be shoved aside. That for the first time in the history of the nation, people now consume locally produced goods, while local farmers now have gains through government initiatives in agriculture.
However, while pondering some of the downsides of the administration in the last five years, the NNC noted as follow:
- That the government must address the allegation of lack of transparency in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. That it would be irresponsible to let it slide.
- That the government should be wary of its constant borrowings for projects that do not have commercial values or that can adequately guarantee a smooth repayment plan, including the cost of servicing the loans.
- That the NNC noted with disappointment, the constant rivalry amongst some of the inter-governmental agencies, citing the recent drama that attended a disagreement between the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami and the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa. The development, it said, was reprehensible.
- That the NNC noted the unceasing insecurity, particularly, the unabated killings in the northern part of the country. While noting the efforts of the security agencies to stem the tide, NNC noted that the situation requires more deliberate actions to stamp the scourge out of the system.
- That the NNC observed as a low point in the life of the administration, the seeming redundancy of Vice President Yemi Osibajo. The NNC is of the view that the vice-president has a lot to offer and should be deployed to better use. The group also alluded to the alleged nepotism of the administration and advised an appointment spread that typifies Nigeria’s differences as a social entity.
- That the NNC recognised some of the frustrations and disappointments of the people on some of the actions and inactions of the administration. It, however, solicited support for
the government since its failure or success is a brunt that all would bear at the end of the day.
Adeola Adewunmi Olutunbosun Osifowora
Chairman Secretary/Legal officer
Inclusive Foundation Mourns Veteran Actress, Rachael Oniga
Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation, a non-governmental organisation has expressed its heartfelt sympathy to family, friends and the entire movie industry over the loss of the veteran actress, Rachael Oniga who died at age 64.
The CEO of the foundation, Chief (Mrs.) Pat Eleto, in a condolence visit to the family, on Saturday, July 31st, said the news came as a rude shock to many, but she believes that the late actress has created a great impact with her career, and her legacy should never be forgotten.
In her statement, Chief (Mrs.)Eleto said:
“It is with a heavy heart that I grief with the family of a sister, friend and adviser of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
“Mrs. Oniga, is one of our great ambassadors, and we were actually working on a project that is meant for the later part of this year when the sad news of her demise came.
“Death is inevitable, we pray for the repose of her soul, and may God comfort all the people she left behind. We also hope and pray that all her good legacies, be sustained because, she was indeed a pillar of support to our foundation, and also one of veterans that contributed immensely to the growth of Nollywood,” the statement reads.
A native of Delta State, Oniga was one of the ambassadors of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
Alaafin Shuns Ooni-Backed Group Over Alleged Anti-Buhari Posture
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on Friday, at the last minute, allegedly cancelled an appointment he gave to a Yoruba group, Ooni’s Caucus, on the alleged complaint that members of the group are “notorious critics” of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The Ooni’s Caucus, which was inaugurated at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on July 20, 2021, is made of many influential Yoruba persons and is being coordinated by a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Akin Osuntokun.
PUNCH learnt that Osuntokun led about 14 members of the group to Alaafin’s palace for the alleged 11am appointment on Friday, but after waiting for about two and a half hours, the influential monarch sent words to them that he would not be seeing them.
According to a source, who spoke to PUNCH on condition of anonymity, some of the group’s members who went to Alaafin’s palace with Osuntokun were a monarch, the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Alao; a former presidential spokesman, Dr Doyin Okupe; a former commissioner in Osun State, Muyiwa Ige; a former Minister of Defence, Mrs Dupe Adelaja; a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, Oye Oyewumi, Sola Lawal, among others.
A former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, is also said to be a member of Ooni’s Caucus, but he was not on the delegation to Alaafin’s palace on Friday.
The source, who is a member of the group, claimed that the group had through the Olugbon secured an appointment with Alaafin since Monday, and the same appointment was confirmed on Thursday, only for them to get to the palace and the Alaafin refused to see them on the claim that they were anti-Buhari and were also loyalists of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The source explained that the main purpose of the meeting was for the newly-inaugurated group to get Alaafin’s blessings and to possibly discuss the issue of the embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, who is currently being held and tried in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
The source said, “The Olugbon, a member of the caucus, was the one who booked the appointment, but he said the Alaafin said he didn’t want to see us because we’re notorious critics of the Buhari government.
“He (Alaafin) confirmed the appointment yesterday (Thursday). But when we got there today, he kept us waiting; after a while, he asked to see the Olugbon. He (Alaafin) didn’t come to see us; we were told he said he wouldn’t see us because we are notorious critics of Buhari’s government and that some of us are close to Obasanjo, who is also critical of the government.
“We were made to wait for about two and a half hours; he gave us an appointment for 11am; we got there at 11am and at about 1.30pm, that was when it was obvious to us that he wasn’t coming (to see us). But he initially asked to see the Olugbon, who went to see him for about an hour. When the Olugbon eventually came back, he said Alaafin would not see us, saying we are a group that is critical of the Buhari government and some of us are loyalists of Obasanjo.”
On whether the group’s mission to Alaafin’s palace was to discuss Sunday Igboho’s matter, the source said, “Of course, the issue (of Igboho) would come up but that was not the purpose of the visit. The issue of Igboho concerns all the Yoruba people but that was not our reason for going to him.”
On whether the group would try and book another appointment, the source said, “I don’t know; we were all surprised that a Yoruba oba can refuse to see his children on account of not wanting to be on the bad side of Buhari’s government. I would have thought that an oba is supposed to take everybody as his children, whether they are supporters of Buhari the All progressives Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party or whatever party.”
But when contacted by PUNCH, the Media Director to the Alaafin, Bode Durojaye, said the reason his principal did not see the group was because they did not have any prior appointment with him.
Durojaye said the Alaafin would be willing to entertain the group if they booked an appointment.
He said, “Those who came are men of honour and kabiyesi did not say he did not want to see them. He did not say he would not see them because they are critical of President Buhari or they are former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s men. Obasanjo himself is a friend of Kabiyesi, so you can see that what you were told was not what happened.
“Kabiyesi said he could not see them because they did not give him prior notice that they were coming. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to see them again. They can notify him and he will give them an appointment. You cannot just come and say you want to see him, there are protocols to follow and due process is always adhered to at Alaafin’s Palace.
“There was no rancour, no ill-feeling even when they were going; I was there and I saw them off to their vehicles. If anybody told you that kabiyesi said he didn’t want to see them because they are critical of government or they are Obasanjo’s men, that is a lie.”
NMA Reacts As Bandits Break Into, Pick Nurse At Zamfara General Hospital
Suspected bandits invaded General Hospital, Dansadau, Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Friday, resulting in the abduction of a nurse and caregiver.
Residents said that immediately the men stormed the medical facility, the armed men headed to the outpatient ward in search of a doctor or nurse.
“When they couldn’t find anybody there, they started going from one ward to another. A nurse and a caregiver were abducted. They then moved to staff quarters looking for doctors and nurses but could not find any.”
“The armed criminals had earlier attempted to attack Maigoge, a community located six kilometres north of Dansadau town.
“But when they laid siege to the community, the vigilantes otherwise known as Yan Sakai firmly defended the village. The vigilante killed some of the bandits and injured several others.
“They then invaded the hospital to kidnap nurse and doctors that will treat their injured brothers in the forest.”
Maigoge is one of the few communities in Dansadau Emirate known to be firmly defending themselves against bandits.
“The staff of the facility are not carrying out night duties now. They only attend to patients at day time. They then move inside the town to spend night usually at undisclosed locations,” he added.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association in Zamfara state, Dr Mannir Bature, who confirmed the attack said the association is worried by the unfortunate incident.
He said they would hold an emergency state officers council meeting on Saturday.
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