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Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Sunday, July 10, 2022

ASUU strike: Buhari govt reveals when universities will resume

 

ASUU strike: Buhari govt reveals when universities will resume



The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has assured that the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, will soon be over.

Goodluck Opiah, the Minister of State for Education, assured that Buhari's administration is committed to ending the ASUU strike.

Opiah gave the assurance in Owerri, Imo State, while addressing journalists over the weekend.


"I can assure you that the government is very concerned about the situation. Even as I speak to you now a lot of thinking, a lot of discussions and meetings are going on with a view to resolving the matter as quickly as possible.

"I am hopeful that the disagreement between the government and ASUU will be resolved soon so that our children can go back to school".

ASUU has been on strike since February 2022 over face-off with the Federal Government due to mode of payment for university lecturers.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Elections: we are too big for a politician to live. NANS urged students to vote correctly. . The letter says: .

Elections: we are too big for a politician to live. NANS urged students to vote correctly. . The letter says: .



 Endless possibilities and expectations. “Fellow Nigerian youth and students, there is no doubt that we have never been so bad in the eternal history of our people. “Over the past 12 months, there have been countless kidnappings in this country.


The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has called on Nigerian youths and students to look beyond ethnic and religious sentiments in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.


The Coordinator, NANS Zone F, South-East, Onya Ibeabuchi-Moses, alias Aluta Apostle, made the call in an open letter addressed to students and youths of the country.


The letter read: “As we all know 2023 is by the corner, and as far as I am concerned it is an important year for all Nigerians who desire a paradigm shift from the retrogressive status quo we have found ourselves into for a couple of dispensations now, to a new Nigeria full unlimited possibilities and hope.


 “Fellow Nigerian youths and students, there is no gainsaying that we have never had it this bad in the successive history of our nation.


“There have been a myriad of abductions that had happened in the country in the last twelve months, especially that of road and train travelers,” he said.


Mr Moses, therefore, called on Nigerian Youths and students to wake up from their slumber and go all out on election day to do what is necessary.


He said: “This is the power we have, a right that establishes what we want and the resolve that would change our country for good.


“They can buy delegate votes, but the truth remains that we are too big, articulate, ever conscious, dogged and currently enlightened by these businessmen in power, to buy.


“I’m therefore calling on our celebrities who are members of the youth population in this country to come on board and use their platforms to preach the message of hope, reawakening and voter education to their teeming fans and followers as this would go a long way to enable our youths do the right thing." statement partly reads.


Thursday, June 2, 2022

AGAIN, ORTOM ADVOCATES AUTONOMY FOR THE JUDICIARY

AGAIN, ORTOM ADVOCATES AUTONOMY FOR THE JUDICIARY 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has reiterated his call for complete autonomy for the judiciary to enable the arm of government dispassionately uphold the rule of law. 



Governor Ortom bared his mind Thursday, June 2nd, 2022 at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi during the swearing-in ceremony of three newly appointed High Court Judges in the State judiciary. 

The newly sworn-in Judges are, Justice Felicia M. Ikyegh, Justice John M. Shishi and Justice Gabriel A. Omale following the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, NJC. 

The Governor recommended that all entitlements due to the judiciary should be deducted at source from the Federation Accounts and remitted directly to the Heads of Courts for onward payment to judicial staff. 

The Governor also stated that "all matters of welfare of judicial staff – salary, pension and gratuity should henceforth be handled by the National Judicial Council.  

"This I believe has become necessary for the smooth and effective operations of the judiciary in a democratic setting," he said. 

Governor Ortom reaffirmed his administration's policy of non-interference in the affairs of the judiciary, noting that it was the reason he assented to the Benue Judiciary Fund Management (Financial Autonomy) Law, 2021 to enable the State judiciary perform its duties in line with the rule of law. 

The Governor ranked the Benue State judiciary as one of the best in justice dispensation in the country saying his administration has consistently sponsored judges and lawyers to conferences within and outside the country to improve the quality of their work. 

While congratulating the new High Court Judges, Governor Ortom acknowledged that their appointments were based on sound knowledge of the law and positive character and charged them to remain above board and shun temptation to pervert justice in the discharge of their duties. 

He further noted that at a time when the government and the public are calling for quick dispensation of justice, the judiciary must live up to its responsibility as democracy cannot thrive without adherence to the rule of law. 

Justice Ikyegh in her response on behalf of the newly sworn-in Judges expressed gratitude to God and thanked the Governor for appointing them on the endorsement of the NJC. 

She also appreciated the State Chief Judge, Justice Aondoaver Kaka'an, the Judicial Service Commission as well as the Nigerian Bar Association for their various roles in the justice sector and stated avowed commitment and strict adherence to their oath of office. 

The State Deputy Governor, Engr Benson Abounu, the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly and Governorship candidate of the PDP, Titus Uba, Chief Judge of the State, Justice Aondoaver Kaka'an, President Customary Court, Justice Cosmas Idye, the Head of Service, Mrs Veronica Onyeke, the Chief of Staff, Dr Tivlumun Nyitse were among top government officials who witnessed the ceremony.

Nathaniel Ikyur
Chief Press Secretary,
June 2nd, 2022







Wednesday, June 1, 2022

[PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES] Buhari’s sucker punch to APC govs: I’ll pick my successor

 


Says govs were given re-election tickets or allowed to choose their successors

Adds: ‘we must choose someone that‘ll give us victory’


…Presidents jets to Spain with govs, ministers to perfect plan


Read AlsoYou chose your successors, allow me choose mine, Buhari pleads with APC govsGovs tighten grip on delegates, ahead of APC, PDP presidential primaries2023: APC govs gang up against Jonathan


…23 aspirants to be pruned to four, one from North, three from South


…Jonathan’s fate sealed as Okorocha’s hangs in the balance


By Clifford Ndujihe, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Omeiza Ajayi, ABUJA


President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, took the first step towards selecting his successor. He asked Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at their much-postponed meeting to allow him choose his successor.


Vanguard reporter saw the governors leaving the meeting with long faces, an indication that they were not pleased with the development.


However, the president at the meeting dug in by saying that since the party allowed the governors to pick re-election tickets or determined who would succeed them, they should give him the honour of picking his successor.


The meeting was called for President Buhari “to show his hand” on his preferred successor and concretize plans for the party’s presidential primaries slated for June 6 and 7.


The reasons for the governors’ sad looks are not far-fetched. Pointedly, the president asked them to allow him pick his successor as they had been allowed to do in their various states.


In essence, the party’s flag-bearer may emerge via consensus and the candidate may not be a serving governor.


Five APC governors — Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) Mohammed Badaru (Jigawa) and Ben Ayade (Cross River) are among the 23 aspirants seeking to succeed President Buhari.


The screening of presidential aspirants by the seven-man panel, led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun started on Monday and was being concluded at press time.


“The party has successfully established internal policies that promote continuity and smooth succession plans even at the state and local government levels. For example, first-term governors who have served credibly well have been encouraged to stand for re-election. Similarly, second-term governors have been accorded the privilege of promoting successors that are capable of driving their visions as well as the ideals of the party.


“In keeping with the established internal policies of the Party and as we approach the Convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023,” President Buhari told the governors in a 12-point speech at the parley.


The president said that the party will present a candidate  who would give the party a sense of victory and confidence and pleaded with the Progressive Governors Forum to align with the position of the party and ensure that the forthcoming convention to pick a presidential candidate reflects the values and virtues of the APC.


However, some of the governors did not look bright after the meeting and declined every entreaty to talk to State House Correspondents who were anxiously waiting to hear the outcome of the parley.


The President said he recognized the compelling need to provide stronger leadership to the party under the transition process and to ensure that it happens in an orderly manner.


He affirmed that consultations will continue in the days leading to the national convention to ensure that all the aspirants are carried along.


He said that the APC’s focus is to remain on the changing dynamics of the nation’s political environment, the expectations of the citizens  and the global community even as he emphasized the need for internal cohesion and a strong leadership brand for the party to achieve bigger electoral fortunes.


Buhari jets out to Spain with govs, ministers to perfect plan


Sources close to the Presidency told Vanguard, yesterday, that President Buhari left with some members of his kitchen cabinet, ministers, and governors including a very loyal Southern governor for Spain to perfect the plan.


The sources added that he would be coming back on Friday with a clear decision on the issue.


It was gathered that President Buhari has recommended that the number of presidential aspirants going into the primaries should be reduced to a manageable figure with the National Chairman expressing the hope that aspirants could be pruned to four.


The “manageable four,” sources told Vanguard, may be three aspirants from the South and one from the North, adding that Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo may be among the four.


Buhari’s 12-point speech that jolted APC governors


President Buhari’s speech read in part: “I am delighted to address this gathering of the Progressive Governors’ Forum as part of the consultative processes that have always strengthened the internal dynamics of our Party, the All Progressives Congress.


“You will all recall that APC came to power at the centre in 2015 through a cohesive machinery, notwithstanding its status as the opposition party. Similarly, in 2019, it was returned to power under my leadership, because of the dividends of democracy delivered to Nigerians irrespective of their political leanings.


“The party has since grown in strength and capacity to govern. The key to both electoral successes is the ability of the party to hold consultations and for its members to put the nation above other interests.


“The transition processes for the 2023 General Elections have commenced in earnest and I note that the most successful political parties globally have always relied on their internal cohesion and a strong leadership brand to achieve bigger electoral fortunes. Our party, the APC, shall not be any different, more so as we are still implementing the blueprint for a more prosperous nation.


“As I begin the final year of my second term as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and leader of the Party, I recognize the compelling need for me to provide stronger leadership to the Party under this transition process and to ensure that it happens in an orderly manner.


“Such leadership is required so that the Party remains strong and united. It is also needed to improve our electoral fortunes by ensuring that it retains power at the centre, hold the great majority in various legislative chambers and also gain additional number of states at state levels.


“In pursuit of the foregoing objectives, the Party has successfully established internal policies that promote continuity and smooth succession plans even at the state and local government levels. For example, first term Governors who have served credibly well have been encouraged to stand for re-election. Similarly, second term Governors have been accorded the privilege of promoting successors that are capable of driving their visions as well as the ideals of the party. 


“ In a few days, the Party will be holding its Convention during which primaries would take place to pick the Presidential Flag Bearer for the 2023 General Elections. This is a very significant process and its outcome should prove to the world, the positive quality of the APC regarding democratic principles, culture as well as leadership.


“As we approach the Convention, I appeal to all of you to allow our interests to converge, our focus to remain on the changing dynamics of our environment, the expectations of our citizens and the global community. Our objective must be the victory of our party and our choice of the candidate must be someone who would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections.


“In keeping with the established internal policies of the Party and as we approach the Convention in a few days, therefore, I wish to solicit the reciprocity and support of the Governors and other stakeholders in picking my successor, who would fly the flag of our party for election into the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.


“I wish to assure you that the consultation process shall continue to ensure that all aspirants and stakeholders would be brought on board right through to the convention. This would also ensure that any anxiety occasioned by different factors is effectively brought under control and that our party emerges stronger.”


We’ll support Buhari to have a successful convention — Bagudu, PGF chairman


Speaking on behalf of the state governors, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, and Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum said the party must build on the successes of its recent elective convention, and the primaries conducted so far, “and come up with a candidate who will walk in the footsteps of patriotism and love for the country, which Mr. President has shown,” adding: “We will support Mr President to have a very successful convention.”


Jonathan’s fate sealed as Okorocha’s hangs in the balance


Meanwhile, the fate of former President Goodluck Jonathan regarding the 2023 presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, may have been sealed with his non-appearance before the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun Presidential screening panel.


The panel had concluded its two-day task, yesterday, in Abuja.


On the same night, the fate of the lawmaker representing Imo West Senatorial District, Senator Rochas Okorocha hung in the balance as it was not certain if he would be able to appear before the screening committee.


Okorocha, who had earlier secured a bail to be released from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, could not make it to the screening as of 8:45pm.


Among those screened, yesterday, were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Governor Yahaya Bello, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Dimeji Bankole; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu and others.


However, despite speculations that Dr Jonathan may have submitted his nomination and expression of interest forms clandestinely and that he might be screened, the former president was not anywhere close to the venue of the exercise.


At the event on Tuesday, Presidential aide in the vice president’s office, Senator Babafemi Ojudu said Prof. Osinbajo remained the best man for the job.


Speaking of Osinbajo, Senator Ojudu said; “He has all it takes to be President of Nigeria and we are ready whichever way it goes.


“In the history of Nigeria and primaries in this country, there is nobody that has campaigned like the vice president did. We went to 36 states including the FCT, he did not just only take questions from everyone he stood up to answer those questions. And after doing so, he took photographs with every individual and each of the delegates present at those events.


 So you can see that he is determined and is prepared, and he has done his own work, and he is not taking our Party members for granted. And he wants to let them know his vision, his agenda and what he will do, you know, not just for this country, but even for them as members of the party, if and when he is elected.”


Also speaking, Senator Kabiru Gaya who chairs the vice president’s umbrella support group, The Progressive Project TPP said Mr Osinbajo is the only candidate who can defeat the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, Atiku Abubakar.


“We are impressed by his qualifications and experience. He has been in the system for so many years as the vice president and he has acted also as a president. So he is the most experienced aspirant in this race. We believe that he will be a candidate for the APC general elections and he is the only candidate that can beat Atiku Abubakar; that I am sure of”, he said.


Akpabio, on his part, admitted that the screening was rigorous.


“I think it is quite rigorous and the checklist is very good. At least they will be able to know the aspirants in totality and also get their idea of how they are doing to run the affairs of the country and take the country from the present level to the next level. The array of politicians I have seen there are people who are grassroots based”, he stated.


On the issue of consensus, Akpabio said the party is supreme and must be obeyed.


He also said Atiku is only popular in the PDP and not in the country.


Why I’m qualified to succeed Buhari —Tinubu


Meanwhile, a presidential aspirant on  the platform of All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has defended his qualification as the right person to succeed the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, retd, in 2023.


According to the Director of Media and Communication of the Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Bayo Onanuga, in a statement, Tinubu said his exploits as the governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 made him qualified to become the party’s flagbearer.


Tinubu had appeared before the screening committee of the APC on Monday to defend his presidential ambition in the presence of a committee, led by a former national chairman of the APC, John Oyegun, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.


In the statement, Onanuga said, “He (Tinubu) confidently told the panel why he is qualified to fly the flag of APC as its presidential candidate.


“He cited his success as governor of Lagos State, raising the internal revenue generation of the state from a paltry N600 million monthly, which has now grown to N51 billion today.”


Onanuga added that Tinubu demonstrated a vast knowledge of economic management and a perfect understanding of Nigeria’s political economy in his answers.


Tinubu was also said to have cited his invitation to Enron to start the first state-backed power generation project in the country and how Nigeria would need to take the power transmission lines as a highway.


Questions asked the APC National Leader included his upbringing, and educational and professional background.


“Tinubu impressed the panel during the screening process with the way and manner he answered and provided insight into many of the questions asked.


“The screening committee expressed satisfaction with Tinubu’s knowledge of the economy and socio-political issues that are affecting the country,” Onanuga stated.


Vanguard News Nigeria



Tuesday, May 31, 2022

JUST IN: Sen. Kalu Sympathizes With Students, Calls On FG To Resolve Dispute With ASUU And End Strike

 JUST IN: Sen. Kalu Sympathizes With Students, Calls On FG To Resolve Dispute With ASUU And End Strike.



The former governor and senator made this appeal in the early hours of Tuesday. He said; 


" I sympathize with Nigerian students who against their will are out of school due to the ongoing ASUU strike . I remember that while I was Governor of Abia state (199-2007), primary to university education was made free and affordable. 


My government invested a lot in education to encourage people to go to school. 


The states and federal government are supposed to pay strict attention to education . It is irresponsible for any government to deny attention to education sector . 


I call on the universities and federal government to rally round and close ranks so that our students will leave the streets and go back to classes. 


The incessant strikes lead to delays in students’ graduation and slows down their life plans and life pursuits." 


Monday, May 30, 2022

Strike: We’ve resumed talks with FG, say ASUU, SSANU

 Strike: We’ve resumed talks with FG, say ASUU, SSANU

 

ASUU President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke and Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige


The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions have said the Prof Nimi Briggs Committee is in negotiation with the unions.


Speaking in an interview with Lakevibez on Sunday, the ASUU’s National President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, said the union had been negotiating with the Briggs Committee since last week over its demands.


ASUU commenced its ongoing strike on February 14, 2022 after the Federal Government failed to meet some of its demands namely; the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution payment platform.


The lakevibez reports that on March 7, 2022, the Federal Government inaugurated a seven-man committee chaired by the Pro-Chancellor of Alex Ekweme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Prof Nimi Briggs.


The committee, which is expected to review the proposed FGN/ASUU Agreement, has its terms of reference, some of which include; to liaise and consult with relevant stakeholders to finalise the position of the FG to the issues in the draft proposed FGN/ASUU renegotiated agreement; renegotiate in realistic and workable terms the 2009 agreements with other university-based unions; and negotiate and recommend any other issue the committee deems relevant to reposition the National Universities Commission for global competitiveness.


Osodeke said, “We are discussing with the Federal Government through the renegotiation team and we started last week.


“The negotiation is between ASUU and the Briggs Committee and agreement should be negotiated quietly. When we reach an agreement, we will come to the press.  We hope this approach/ negotiation will solve the problem so that by next week, we will brief Nigerians. Give us a little time.”


When asked if ASUU would call off the strike soon, Osodeke said, “We don’t know until we finish the negotiation.”


Read AlsoStrike: Govt stopped our salaries but we're undaunted - ASUUASUU: Ex-minister, lecturers disagree over varsities’ financial autonomyASUU, others get N34bn wage arrears from 2019, says FG


Similarly, the SSANU National President, Mr Ibrahim Mohammed, confirmed that the union had two meetings with the Briggs Committee, saying, “Yes, the Briggs Committee is negotiating with the unions and the government should fast track the process. We are not used to staying at home; we are ready to go back to work as soon as all the issues we raised are discussed and agreed upon.”


SSANU’s strike started with a warning strike of two weeks which commenced on March 27, 2021, while the extension of another two weeks commenced on Sunday April 10, 2022. It is ongoing, having being reported that it has been extended by a month.


Some of the demands of SSANU include the inconsistent issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, unpaid earned allowances, and delay in the renegotiation of FGN, NASU, SSANU agreements, and non-payment of minimum wage arrears.


Others include neglect and poor funding of state universities, non-payment of retirement benefits to outgoing members of the unions, and usurpation of the headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures, among others.







Sunday, May 29, 2022

SHERATON, MOBILE PHONES, ORTOM AND OTHER REASONS ATIKU DEFEATED WIKE

 SHERATON, MOBILE PHONES, ORTOM AND OTHER REASONS ATIKU DEFEATED WIKE



As envisaged, Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, and Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state, fought the closest battle for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday. Combined, they got 83 percent of the 752 valid votes from delegates. Atiku, with 371 votes, outscored Wike, with 237. Atiku beat Wike by a margin of 134 to become the party’s flag bearer for the second consecutive election.


Although conventional wisdom was that Atiku was the strongest candidate on the ballot, Wike had garnered support in his nationwide tour, prompting many analysts to predict a neck-and-neck race. Some even ventured that he would win the ticket in the absence of a northern consensus candidate. But Atiku came good at the end of the day.


Here are the reasons Atiku won, 


TAMBUWAL'S RELUCTANT WITHDRAWAL


Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state and former speaker of the house of representatives, did the unexpected when he decided to step down for Atiku just before voting began. It was a surprise because he had refused all along, despite efforts by Aliyu Gusau, former national security adviser, and Attahiru Bafarawa, himself a former governor of Sokoto state. Tambuwal believed it was Atiku that should step down and back him, being a younger candidate. He ran against Atiku in the primary in 2018, and despite the heavy backing of Wike, he lost. Going into this year’s primary, Tambuwal had no fewer than 100 delegates from the north-west on his side. Imo delegates, under the leadership of Emeka Ihedioha, Tambuwal’s former deputy in the house of reps, were also in his corner. But the northern leaders eventually prevailed upon him that Atiku had a wider spread across the 36 states and he should consider northern interest first. He succumbed a few hours to the start of the convention, boosting Atiku’s chances and possibly demoralising other northern delegates who had pledged support to Wike.


DELEGATE CAMPING


Atiku, a veteran of indirect primaries dating back to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1993, pulled yet another trick from the bag when he re-enacted the camping of delegates at the Sheraton Abuja Hotel before the convention. TheCable understands that he camped 275 “sure” delegates at the hotel and cut them off from communicating with the outside world, effectively insulating them from any influence from other aspirants. He still needed more delegates to be sure of winning the ticket, which he got when Tambuwal stepped down and directed his supporters to thumbprint Atiku. The “camping” tactic was used to good effect by Atiku in previous primaries, but it did not work in 2015 as the All Progressives Congress (APC) insisted on housing all the delegates.


SAMUEL ORTOM'S DOUBLE GAME


Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, was initially thought to be an associate of Wike until events started unfolding with the election of Iyorchia Ayu as the national chairman of the party last year. Ortom, TheCable understands, was the one who touted Ayu and assured Wike that the former senate president would be “neutral”. However, Ayu is a well-known age-old associate of Atiku. He was removed as minister by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006 in the heat of the face-off between Obasanjo and Atiku. Ayu was the DG of the Atiku’s presidential campaign in 2007. While the southern governors wanted PDP to zone the presidential ticket to the south, Ayu worked against it. Ortom, who chaired the committee on zoning, left the race open without making any definite recommendation. It was at this stage that it became clear that Atiku was having his way in the party. David Mark, also from Benue like Ortom and Ayu, was said to be more comfortable with Atiku as the presidential flag bearer. He chaired the convention. Ayu would call Tambuwal “hero of the convention” the day after Atiku got the ticket.


NO VOTE AND SNAP


Although a lot of money is believed to have been shared by the biggest aspirants to induce delegates, with Atiku reportedly offering the largest before and during the convention, the PDP leadership, through the election committee, banned delegates from taking their phones to the polling booths. This was a masterstroke. Delegates are normally paid in part and promised the balance after they had voted, taken a picture of their ballot paper and presented it. However, the ban on phones meant people could now effectively vote for their choices without being accountable to anyone. This tactic also worked in favour of Atiku — many northern delegates had also reportedly collected money from other aspirants and were now free from showing evidence of “delivery”.


THE ATIKU FACTOR


Atiku might have failed to get elected as president since he started trying 29 years ago but he is one of the finest politicians around. He has cultivated an extensive network of loyal supporters over the years across every nook and cranny of Nigeria. Having served as vice-president for eight years, between 1999 and 2007, Atiku has continued to be relevant politically despite attempts by Obasanjo to dim his light. Although he has fallen out with some of his associates over the years, he has always managed to keep in touch with them and easily revives old alliances. While Wike was relying on his field work and war chest to get the PDP ticket, Atiku was working behind the scenes on the power brokers inside and outside the party to pull the strings for him. Getting Tambuwal to withdraw, even if reluctantly, was perhaps the biggest deciding factor in his victory.

WIKE MOURNS VICTIMS OF POLO CLUB STAMPEDE

 WIKE MOURNS VICTIMS OF POLO CLUB STAMPEDE

 


The Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has expressed grief over the loss of lives in the unfortunate stampede incident that occurred yesterday at Polo Club, Port Harcourt.

 

Governor Wike, who is disheartened by the tragedy, mourned the victims and expressed  profound condolences to the bereaved families.

 

"On behalf of the Government and people of Rivers State, I pray for God to grant the bereaved families the fortitude to bear the loss of their loved ones. 

 

"I also pray for the souls of all the faithful departed to rest in perfect peace. And to the injured, I wish them a speedy recovery."

 


Kelvin Ebiri

Special Assistant on Media to the Governor of Rivers State.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

2023: PDP MOCKS APC, SAYS 'OUR NATIONAL CONVENTION GOING AHEAD AS SCHEDULED'

 2023: PDP MOCKS APC, SAYS 'OUR NATIONAL CONVENTION GOING AHEAD AS SCHEDULED'



The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said it’s Special National Convention/ Presidential primary will go ahead today (Saturday) as scheduled.


The party said its attention had been drawn to speculations from “some strange quarters“ that it has postponed its 2022 National Convention holding today, Saturday, May 28, 2022.


National Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, said this in a statement he signed in Abuja.


He said, “For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP states in very clear terms that is has not postponed its 2022 Special National Convention.


“The 2022 Special National Convention of the PDP is on course as scheduled today, Saturday May 28, 2022 and there is no contemplation whatsoever for postponement.


“The PDP as a party of due process has since commenced processes to elect our Presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections in line with our mission to rescue and rebuild our nation from misrule.


“Our Party remains focused and will not be distracted by the shenanigans and underhand dealings of the rudderless, deceitful and manipulative All Progressives Congress (APC), which is desperate to orchestrate uncertainties, derail the electoral process and subvert the Will of the people in the 2023 general elections.


“The PDP 2022 Special National Convention is already on course, our Presidential candidates, national delegates, teeming members of our great Party and Nigerians from across the country are set for the National Convention, which will at the end, credibly and transparently deliver a Presidential candidate who will be the choice of majority of Nigerians in the 2023 general elections.


“The PDP therefore charges our members, swarming supporters, the International Community, election monitors and the general public to disregard and completely discountenance suggestions that the 2022 Special National Convention has been postponed.“


He further said, “The APC is fighting a lost battle as its resort to manipulations and underhand dealings can never sway Nigerians in their determination to vote out the APC in 2023 and commence the rebuild.



By John Alechenu, Abuja

THE TRENDING NEWS OF A CATHOLIC PRIEST THAT WINS APC BENUE GUBER PRIMARIES

 Breaking News............

THE TRENDING NEWS OF A CATHOLIC PRIEST THAT WINS APC BENUE GUBER PRIMARIES

...SAYS HIS SUSPENSION BY THE CHURCH, A WORTHY SACRIFICE FOR BENUE



From results collated from all the Local Government Areas, it appears suspended Catholic priest has clinched the APC Governorship ticket. The final announcements are yet to be done. 


The Catholic Church, Gboko Area of Benue State had suspended Revd. Fr. Hyacinth lormem ALIA from public ministry.


This was disclosed in a statement signed by William Avenya, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Gboko & Apostolic Administrator, See Vacante.


Revd. Fr. Alia was suspended for his involvement in politics and purchasing forms to contest for the position of the Governor of Benue State under the All Progressives Congress, APC.


The statement read: “May I begin by acknowledging and appreciating you for your commitment and dedication to the work of spreading the Good News of Christ.


“I wrote to communicate to you the suspension of my priest, Revd. Fr. Hyacinth lormem Alia from public ministry after series of admonitions to him Ex can. 1371, 2° CIC.


“The Mother Church does not allow her clerics to get involved in partisan politics on their own Ex can, 285, 3 CIC.


You are aware that my son, your brother and your priest has purchased the party forms to contest for the Office of the Governor of Benue State under the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is totally against our vocation.


“Therefore, to respond to the spiritual and pastoral needs of the Church in the Catholic Diocese of Gboko, I have suspended him from the exercise of sacred ministry.”


The Catholic Bishop noted that the canonical suspension takes effect from the moment it is communicated to him and lasts until he ceases from contumacy.



Friday, May 27, 2022

 JUST IN: Amaechi’s N96 billion ‘fraud’ probe can proceed, Supreme Court rules

 JUST IN: Amaechi’s N96 billion ‘fraud’ probe can proceed, Supreme Court rules



The Supreme Court has declined a suit seeking to stop the planned probe of N96 billion fraud allegedly involving the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.


The said multibillion-naira fraud was allegedly carried out during Amaechi’s time as the Governor of Rivers State.


While dismissing the suit on Friday, the court in a unanimous judgement by a five-man panel of Justices, submitted that there was no justification to stop the probe of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant.


The decision is coming days after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested former Imo governor, Rochas Okorocha, who is also running for president on the platform of the ruling APC.


Amaechi’s and Okorocha’s ordeals have not been officially linked to their 2023 political ambitions.


The APC should have its presidential flagbearer by Monday or before INEC’s June 4 deadline.


Meanwhile, today is Ameachi's birthday 🎉

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

THE SHYLOCK GODFATHER (AKUME) AND WHY HE WILL NOT ALLOW POWER TO GO OFF HIS GRIP

 THE SHYLOCK GODFATHER (AKUME) AND WHY HE WILL NOT ALLOW POWER TO GO OFF HIS GRIP



He was inadvertently created by political factors that he serially demonised to pave way for exclusive control.


He consolidated a hold on the Commonwealth by installing successors he thought were manipulatable.


He ended with them in bitter rivalries, has personalised the party as a private investment to be soon known as Akumes Puppets Congress (APC).


The evidence is the reward criteria for granting tickets to his wife, numerous concubines and a failed priest with no relevant experience in public service as an exploitive tool to be manipulated while governing.


He has no single investment except living on Commonwealth and exploiting Aspirants.


He was responsible for the impasse of APC Congress in 2015 which led to a no primaries situation that granted ticket to a stranger on his terms.


Nobody can trust this man who has not used his founding fathers status of the party to attract a single National officer of the party since formation in 2015.


Benue, shine your eyes, the same man is at it again, fake knight of the Catholic Church leading an abominable rebellion against the church just for ultimate pecuniary benefits.


God will not allow you this time.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Taraba APC Stakeholders consider Kente as best option.

 Taraba APC Stakeholders consider Kente as best option.

By Ben Adaji, Jalingo



Ahead of the primary elections of the All Progressives Congress (APC) slated for sometime this week, stakeholders of the Party in Taraba are pointing to the direction of Chief David Sabo Kente as their best choice to enable the party win the number one seat of the State come 2023.


 

With serious permutations across all political parties, especially in the camps of the APC and PDP, the stakeholders, in their poise to win the governorship seat in the next gubernatorial election, are unanimous on the need to work for David Kente to be the flag bearer of party in 2023.


Our reporter in Jalingo who has been following the trend of events in the state in the past few months observed that the permutations have continued to expose major intrigues in the camps of major players.


What is certainly becoming more clearer is that as anticipated earlier, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has indicated that its ticket would be handed over to Col. Agbu Kefas (rtd) who is from Wukari, the Southern Senatorial District of the state.


It’s most intriguing, interesting and amazing, one would say, but it is vary obvious, especially with the recent intervention of Rtd General TY Danjuma and the request that he made that the PDP ticket should be given to Kefas who is also currently the State Chairman of the Party.


As we have earlier predicted and based on the political history of the state, the coming days will definitely unfold a series of mind bugling political strategies worthy of political scholarship, the contest in the camp of the PDP will definitely come to pass with the likelihood of having another imposition of a candidate.


 

 

With this developments in the camp of the PDP, the APC stakeholders in the state are focusing on the aspirant that stands the best chance of matching the candidate of the PDP, bumpber to bumpber.


Several of the stakeholders spoken to in Jalingo are of the opinion that the best option for the APC is to pick Kente who had contested the same position in the previous two elections under the platform of the APC.


Kente is obviously more popular, more accommodating and more at home with the people of Taraba than Kefas. There is no doubt that if the party is desirous of a suitable candidate who really could give the PDP a run for their money Kente is the one to do the magic.


It’s important for the national body of APC to note at this point that with the PDP giving their ticket to Col kefas Agbu (rtd) who is from the South, the need for APC to give their ticket to Kente who is also from the South to break the jinx cannot be over emphasized.


The reason for this cannot be far fetched because Kente has solid political structures across the state after running for governorship twice in the past.


Therefore with a formidable structure across Taraba state, and having existing coordinators with relevant experience, winning the election could just be a walk over for Kente and the APC in February next year.


It is obvious that there are many other aspirants for the gubernatorial seat in APC such as Sen. Yusuf A. Yusuf, Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha and Prof. Muhammad Sani Yahaya, among others. But Kente has been in the field earlier than all of them. Infact Bwacha is only a few months old in the APC.


Interestingly, Taraba state is one state that has diverse ethno religious composition, which has every potentials to grow and develop faster where the diversities can be utilized to place the community on high socio economic cum political threshold.


Religiously, both the Muslims and Christians occupy a very large population segment of the state, with each having a peculiar advantage at certain geopolitical zones to its advantage, but since it is a democracy, the pendulum could swing either way to produce best that could entrench the desired development of the state. However, with the task ahead which is to win the governorship of the state for the APC, it is time to focus more development oriented aspirant than look at sentiments.


Before now, there were some misconception in some segments of the state that APC was a muslim party. What has given credence to this assertion was the fact that the two previous candidates, Sen. Aisha Jummai Alhassan (2015) and Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi (2019) that emerged as flag bearers of the party were muslims.


There is this popular adage that “once beaten, twice shy” this accounted to why many on lookers in Taraba politics opined that APC should change the narrative in 2023 by not fielding a Muslim Candidate for governorship in the coming polls. They rather suggest that a Christian Candidate should be tried this time around. Looking at all other factors, Kente remains the aspirant to beat in terms of carrying along his muslim bretheren in his political activities.


Prof. Dalhatu Sangari, Chieftain of the party and a former governorship aspirant from the southern senatorial zone is of the opinion that Chief David Sabo Kente is the most suitable candidate for the party.


He maintained that Chief Kente would be a better candidate for the party because of his disposition towards Muslims and Christians in the state.


“I am 100 percent optimistic that Kente will defeat PDP and as you can see he is the only aspirant so far that has won the hearts of both Muslims and Christians across the state.


The views of Prof. Sangari is not different another elder statesman and a Chieftain of the party, General Adamu Tobasi Ibrahim (rtd.) otherwise known as AT Ibrahim.


General Ibrahim also a former governorship aspirant of the party holds that APC should not make the mistake of giving the ticket to any other aspirant other than Chief David Sabo Kente.


” I believe in what Chief Kente has been doing for the party and I know our party will win the governorship seat if he is given the ticket ”


Another Chieftain of the party from the Northern senatorial zone of the state, Hon. Abba Akawu Zaga said with Chief Kente, the party would have less work to do in the general elections.


He maintained that with a detribalised personality who has been carrying party members and everybody along over the years the party will certainly win the governorship of the state in 2023.


Dr. Umar Bakari Dorofi, a chieftain of the party from Sardauna local government area opined that Kente’s consistency in the APC has showcased his level of discipline, maturity, stability, humility and patience and as well places him as an ideological based democrat which is not common in our democracy today.


“These attributes no doubt, potray him as a good product to sell for the party especially as one of the outstanding members of the party in the state” he said.


Also Alhaji Muhammed Musa, APC strong supporter from Yorro local government said after the party lost in 2019, Kente remained one of the pillars that ensured the sustainability in funding for the APC.


According to Musa, Kente, whose charity work has traversed all the length and breath of the state is a neutral and detribalized individual hence he is widely accepted by both muslims and Christians.


Although opinions vary as to who they think the cap best fits, many political analysts see some salient points in Chief David Sabo Kente that stand him out as better aspirant that would take the party to victory come 2023.


Dr. Bakari Muhammadu says that what may give David Sabo Kente an edge over his contemporaries is that he has touched many lives through his DSK Foundation which has provided succor to the less privileged members of the society across the length and breath of Taraba, irrespective of religion, ethnicity and political affiliation.


Another major reason Kente is considered by many as the most ideal candidate of the party is the fact that he has remained consistent in the party. Muhammadu revealed that after the party lost in 2019, he has been one of the pillars that ensured funding of the party to remain afloat in the state.


Understandably Kente, out of those eyeing the number one seat through the APC has consistently being in touch with the party structures across the state.


For many people, the PDP has already done all the campaign for the APC by the governor’s alleged remarkable failure to bring the needed transformation in the state.


However, for the party to be able to take advantage of the window of opportunity, it must first of all clear the wrong impressions about it, and field a widely accepted candidate and ensure that all the other interests rally round the person to ensure that the party’s ultimate goal in the state is actualized.


To sum it up David Sabo Kente (DSK) as he is popularly known across Taraba State and beyond, is a household name. He has, all.his life, been an enterprising fellow, very receptive and accommodating to all shades of opinion.


Kente is an all rounder: an accomplished businessman, a technocrat per excellence and a social crusader who takes people’s projects as his personal problem. Example of these concerns is the establishment of his DSK Foundation to cater for the needs of the less privileged in society and empowerment of widows, women and the youth on skills and trade.


Chief David Sabo Kente has remained one distinguished political figure in Taraba State that has directly or indirectly touched the lives of citizens. This is irrespective of their political, religious and ethnic affiliation.


With him as flag bearer, the APC may not only stand a better chance of winning the 2023 gubernatorial elections, but in him Taraba State may cover glaring neglect and lack of focused development that has bedeviled it especially in the last eight years.

Abandoned Donga House Of Assembly Primaries: The Tussle Between The Gbana and Ndatse Camps

 Abandoned Donga House Of Assembly Primaries: The Tussle Between The Gbana and Ndatse Camps.



The Election into the House of Assembly for Donga Constutency could not hold yesterday following a fight between the Camp loyal to the Chief of Staff to Governor Darius, Rt Hon. Istifanus Gbana, and the Majority Leader in the Taraba State House of Assembly, Hon Ndaste. Both men are contesting for the House of Representative Seat for Takum, Donga, Ussa Federal Constituency.


The Primaries, which was scheduled to hold in Donga, the headquarters of the Constituency, was short-lived after the Returning Officer abandoned the election for fear for his life. Consequently, the Delegates followed suit and disappeared from the venue of the election as they could not longer be seen; a move believed to be orchestrated by the political heavyweights. 


Our correspondent at the venue of the Primaries reports that trouble started when skirmishes erupted between the supporters of Gbana and Ndatse; a move a Police Officer brought under control when he fired his gun at the air to scare those farmenting trouble. After some calmness was restored, the Returning Officer together with the Council Chairman, who is also contesting for the House of Assembly Seat, left the venue without conducting the Primaries leaving other aspirants stranded.


With no election taking place in Donga, the Aspirants and their supporters moved down to Takum where the House of Representatives Primaries was scheduled to take place. This was because of the assumption that the Donga Constituency Primaries will hold alongside that of the House of Representatives in Takum. That, however, was not the case as the Aspirants and their supporters were left stranded there again.


This infuriated other Aspirants started calls for the disqualification of two of Donga House of Assembly Aspirants, Hon. Mrs Indo , who is believed to belong to the Gbana Camp and Hon. Nicodemus Ali, who is also believed to be loyal to the Ndatse Camp. The other Aspirants believe that these two are part of the grand plan that disrupted the Election.


Lamenting on the situation, one of the Aspirants who spoke to Taraba News said "they have kidnapped the Delegates. Some of them were taken captive by the Gbana Camp and the others by the Ndatse Camp. This is not democracy. Their Candidates should be disqualified." Another Aspirant said "we came to Takum because we were told that the Primaries will take place in Takum after that of the House of Reps. Nothing is happening here."


Some Aspirants called on His Excellency Gov. Darius Dickson and the State Party Chairman to intervene in the Donga situation. They further warned that unless credible candidates are fielded through a transparent, free and fair process to fly the Party's flag in the General Election, the Party does not stand a chance at winning the Constituency.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Poor Working Conditions, Unfavorable Environment, Reasons Why Lecturers Are Leaving For Ghana, Other Countries – Osodeke

 Poor Working Conditions, Unfavorable Environment, Reasons Why Lecturers Are Leaving For Ghana, Other Countries – Osodeke




Professor Emmanuel Osodeke who spoke to newsmen on issues surrounding the ongoing strike by university lecturers among others, made it known many lecturers are leaving for other countries due to the poor condition of service in Nigeria. 


Osodeke, when asked what he thinks is responsible for the massive brain drain of lecturers, (making reference to the NUC's 100,000 lecturers to over 2.1 million students in universities.) He replied saying;


“... we have less than 60,000 lecturers and not 100,000. The ratio is much wider than what was said by the NUC. What do you think is responsible? It’s because we can’t recruit. Because of our condition of service, lots are leaving the country for other countries, but nobody is coming here. That’s the problem. That’s why we recruit people who are not fit to be lecturers. We need to improve on our condition of service so that we can attract lecturers from all over the world, so that those who have left due to brain drain can come back; we will not be moving forward if we don’t do this. We have to upgrade the condition of service in Nigeria in such a way we can attract lecturers all over the world”


On what he thinks is the way out? He said;  “For you to get the best, you have to improve the welfare package. A lecturer is earning about $600 a month here, but $10,000 a month abroad. Nigerians are running away in droves because of the poor working conditions and environment.


On the issue of foreign universities coming to advertise to Nigerians? He said; 


“People will come from outside to take our people away. We were told by the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) that every year Nigerians pay N1.6tn to foreign universities. So, they are coming for marketing. People come from the outside to come and take our people away because they know that we have the money to pay. Nigerian lecturers are leaving because of the poor learning condition.


Nigeria should do the right thing and implement our agreement, upgrade the university system and fund universities appropriately so that we can attract students from all over the world.”


When asked if he thinks the government will heed his advice? He responded, saying; 


“If the will is there, they will do it. Remember in the 1980s, we were telling Ghana to go; now, we are the ones going to Ghana. Budgetary allocation to education in Nigeria is 5.4 per cent, but in Ghana’s is 16 to 20 per cent. So they should work on that. If we upgrade our own, people will come here. Increase in budget will suffice. For you to attract those people here, you have to increase the welfare package of lecturers.”


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Nigerians Should Not Vote For Politicians Whose Children School Abroad –ASUU President

 ASUU STRIKE 


Nigerians Should Not Vote For Politicians Whose Children School Abroad –ASUU President


GRACE EDEMA speaks to the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, on issues surrounding the ongoing strike by university lecturers and others


❗The NEC of ASUU announced a 12-week strike recently while citing the inaction of the Federal Government. What are some of the issues yet to be addressed by the government?


= None of the issues ranging from revitalisation fund, earned academic allowance, deployment of UTAS (University Transparency and Accountability Solution), release of visitation panel reports, proliferation of universities and reforms has been fully addressed; so, nothing has happened.


❗Isn’t there another way for the union to seek redress, especially seeing that students are home for close to three months?


= Which other ways do Nigerians or the press want us to use? We have used all the ways; we issued warnings, we had meetings, we had MoA (Memorandum of Action), we had Memorandum of Understanding, all the visible methods we could talk through with, and then nothing happened. So, what do we do? Strike is the last option remaining, and they (government) are not even responding, so what do we do?


❗So, you mean there is no other means?


= If you have any, you can suggest.


 


❗In what way is the UTAS better than the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, which was proposed by the Federal Government?


= Well, we keep saying that the IPPIS is a fraud being managed by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, whose head is also charged with fraud. We have been vindicated; you heard that the AGF has been arrested by the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) for misappropriation of N80bn and suspended; this is not small. The IPPIS is a platform they use to siphon money. UTAS is a platform that has been tested but they refused to deploy it. UTAS will take care of all the sectors in the university, which is not in the IPPIS. Issue of sabbatical, issue of visiting lecturers, all will be taken care of by UTAS, which is not accommodated by the IPPIS.


The IPPIS cannot take care of the peculiarities of universities and UTAS is designed in such a way that it can accommodate everything. As I’m talking to you, a large number of people are being owed eight, nine and 10 months’ salaries because they cannot be paid by the IPPIS. What you’re paid today, you’re not sure of what you will get next on the IPPIS. It cannot cater for all peculiarities of universities. UTAS was designed for the Nigerian university system at no cost to the government. But with the IPPIS, we pay to the people taking care of it, like the World Bank, on a monthly basis.


❗The Accountant-General of the Federation was accused of N80bn fraud. What will that amount do for ASUU?


= No, we should be asking what the N80bn will do for Nigeria taken by one man. It’s not about ASUU. It’s about Nigeria. N80bn can construct not less than 80 to 100 kilometres of road. That N80bn will build 10 new secondary and primary schools. It will take care of all the lab equipment in all tertiary institutions in the country. But one man allegedly took it away.


❗The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities has also introduced its own payroll system. Are you not concerned that this system can complicate the remuneration process in the university system?


= Ordinarily, they should have joined us just like the polytechnics and colleges of education have done. But if at all, they want to do theirs, it should be subjected to a test by the NITDA. What we are saying is let the NITDA subject the three systems to a test and we will take the best one.


❗Why has ASUU shunned meetings with the Briggs committee?


= It’s good to get facts right. All the meetings they have invited us for we have attended all of them, but they have not come up with any meaningful thing. They have not shown any sign of agreement or giving us attention that our issues are outstanding.


❗TETfund has always been described as a major player in the development of higher institutions of learning. Do you think the agency has lived up to expectations in terms of funding the major infrastructural projects in the universities?


= The only problem we have in TETfund now is that politicians have taken over TETfund and it is also being managed by all Nigerian fund systems. They call it stakeholders’ forum and board of trustees’ fund; they mismanage the funds and it is no longer as envisaged when we proposed this mode of funding in 1992. Similarly, the Board of Trustees’ Fund, when it was planned, it wasn’t supposed to have a big number of companies that are not paying their dues and taxes. This is why their effect in the country is dwindling.


There ought to be a thorough investigation up to the FIRS (Federal Inland Revenue Service) where they collect the funds. When it was established, it was not like that. It was not established to be a big bureaucracy and that is why its effect is dwindling. Let’s go back to the initial design of TETfund; by that design, TETfund is an agency that is available, the money is collected and disbursed as it’s evaluated every year, with ASUU being a member of its council; but now, it has become a bureaucratic system just like the ministry since ASUU was removed. There is a need for the government to undertake a very serious auditing of TETfund from the beginning till now and ASUU should be in that committee so that the deficiencies can be corrected.


❗The NUC stated that there are about 100,000 lecturers to over 2.1 million students in universities. What do you think is responsible for the massive brain drain of lecturers?


= Again, we have less than 60,000 lecturers and not 100,000. The ratio is much wider than what was said by the NUC. What do you think is responsible? It’s because we can’t recruit. Because of our condition of service, lots are leaving the country for other countries, but nobody is coming here. That’s the problem. That’s why we recruit people who are not fit to be lecturers. We need to improve on our condition of service so that we can attract lecturers from all over the world, so that those who have left due to brain drain can come back; we will not be moving forward if we don’t do this. We have to upgrade the condition of service in Nigeria in such a way we can attract lecturers all over the world.


 

❗What’s the way out?


= For you to get the best, you have to improve the welfare package. A lecturer is earning about $600 a month here, but $10,000 a month abroad. Nigerians are running away in droves because of the poor working conditions and environment.


❗How about the influx of foreign universities coming to advertise to Nigerians?


= People will come from outside to take our people away. We were told by the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) that every year Nigerians pay N1.6tn to foreign universities. So, they are coming for marketing. People come from the outside to come and take our people away because they know that we have the money to pay. Nigerian lecturers are leaving because of the poor learning condition.


❗What is your suggestion on this?


= Nigeria should do the right thing and implement our agreement, upgrade the university system and fund universities appropriately so that we can attract students from all over the world.


❗Do you think the government will heed that advice?


= If the will is there, they will do it. Remember in the 1980s, we were telling Ghana to go; now, we are the ones going to Ghana. Budgetary allocation to education in Nigeria is 5.4 per cent, but in Ghana’s is 16 to 20 per cent. So they should work on that. If we upgrade our own, people will come here. Increase in budget will suffice. For you to attract those people here, you have to increase the welfare package of lecturers.


❗How soon will the universities be opened so that students can return back to school?


= We don’t know. That’s left for the government.


❗What if the government refuses to attend to ASUU throughout this year?


= We will stay at home.


❗Why does ASUU embark on strikes while demanding salaries?


= The difference is this: in my university, we’ve gone on strike several times but no student has missed one year. We start from where we stopped and continue. That’s why you don’t see a lecturer going on leave. We are not going on leave; we wait and teach the students. Don’t compare lecturers with others. We are not losing any year; we stay and teach the students. Are you also aware that my salary has been withheld for three months and we are not complaining?


 

❗But some students are saying their time is being wasted…


= Let me ask, what do Nigerians want? Do you just want us to keep churning out students without knowledge, no practicals? Is it quality education we want without practicals and afterwards the students will be thrown out of the school? Students are living in huts as hostels. The question we should ask is why are students not coming from Ghana, South Africa, Benin etc to come and study here? In the 1970s and 1980s, you never heard of building collapse because of the quality of people in the system. The university is not a place you keep children and churn them out without knowledge; Nigeria will pay dearly for it.


❗Students have taken to the streets in protest. Why is ASUU not yielding to the demands of the students?


= The students have the right to protest and fight for a good education. They have the right to tell the government to do what is needed; we are not against them. That’s what they should do just as the children of the big men are outside the country enjoying seamless education systems. It’s their right; Nigerians should fight for their rights; parents should join too.


❗Some people believe that only those who can afford education should go for it. Do you believe education should be paid for?


= When you check Nigeria’s constitution, education is a right; it’s not a privilege. So, we should look at it that way. Two, parents are already paying; when we were in school, we stayed in hostels built by the government and our meals subsided. If these politicians were asked to pay school fees in their time, they wouldn’t be where they are today. We didn’t stay in shanty villages. That’s what these politicians passed through. It is their right, they shouldn’t beg for it. Every Nigerian has the right to education.


❗How true is it that some ASUU members do not care about the strike because their children attend private universities?


= The salary of the highest paid professor is N416,000 a month. How can he pay N5m as school fees if he has four children? How will he pay N1m as school fee if he has three children? It’s just an attempt to fight against us. All my children passed through the public school system. A salary earner in Nigeria, who is not stealing, cannot put children in private schools. So, all the lecturers have their children in our public schools and they’re at home.


❗Why have ASUU members accused of sexuāl harassm#nt not been prosecuted?


This is not correct. The only ASUU member accused of ss#xuālharassm#nt in Ife is still in jail. How many people in the National Assembly, who have abused women, have been jailed, or who have abused minors have been jailed? We should put the perspective very well. Those accusations are mere attempts to sabotage or blackmail us. If it is correct, look for the person and jail him. If you find any one, jail him. A professor in Uyo, who committed electoral fraud, is in jail too.


ASUU does not run the universities. It is a union. We have a committee that can deal with any such person caught in such an act; blame the system and the government; it is not ASUU that refuses to set up a judicial panel. If anyone is failing in the system, hold the council responsible. We discipline our members but not through Facebook trying to blackmail academics. We will not succumb to blackmail. We told them to set up visitation panels every five years so that they can look for infractions and deal with them; we had to go on strike for 11 years before they did. We discipline our members. Blame the government, which refused to set up panels, and not ASUU.


❗Some of your members do not hesitate to do the bidding of politicians during elections. What do you have to say on this?


= We don’t defend anyone. ASUU does not go on election duty. You should not use one person caught in a fraud to generalise other lecturers. ASUU as a body has said we should not be involved in elections because the system is corrupt from registration to voting. How many ASUU people go to conduct elections? They went as lecturers not as ASUU. Don’t because of one person now generalise; it’s not fair.


❗Will your members take part in the 2023 elections if your demands are met?


= We have said that ASUU will not take part in elections, because before you start voting, the system is already corrupted. At the polling units, the system is corrupt. You tell us to say at the top to compile results, we won’t do that. So, anybody going to participate is going as a Nigerian and not as a member of ASUU, and when he is arrested, he should be treated as a Nigerian and not as ASUU.


❗Is there anything that the union is willing to sacrifice among its demands?


= When we meet the government at the negotiation table, we will look at that. We can’t discuss our negotiation strategies publicly.


❗Is it true that your members collect salaries from multiple places while on sabbatical?


= How many have been arrested? We have been told that the EFCC arrested the Account-General of the Federation. How many lecturers have been arrested? If it is true, the AGF should have compiled their names and sent them to the EFCC and get them tried. All over the world, lecturers are allowed to go on sabbatical; to go for an adjunct and get paid is not a crime. They are trying to blackmail Nigerian academics. So, it’s a global phenomenon captured in our law. It’s not a crime. You don’t blackmail lecturers. We are doing what is done all over the world. Some of us have adjunctship outside the country and we have many come here to do adjunctship too; it is not a crime, it is just blackmail.


❗Is it moral to be paid while you are on strike?


= It’s moral because we are going to start from where we stopped. If I was teaching a student at 200 level, do you expect me to just jump to 300 level when we resume? We have to go back after the strike, forfeit our leave and comfort, and teach from where we stopped. If the government had attended to this strike from day one, we wouldn’t be here. This is the 14th week that the government has not intervened. Hold the government responsible. You are trying to punish a man who is being punished. I’ve not been paid for three months. I’m being punished, my children are at home and they are being punished. We signed an agreement in 2009, the MoA in 2020 and they didn’t implement them and you are talking about students being at home. I thank God that our students know the problem and they are addressing it.


Recently, the airlines said they wouldn’t fly and would go on strike, it didn’t take 24 hours before the government intervened, because they (government officials) fly, but our students have been at home for months and they (government officials) didn’t respond; that is our contradiction.


❗What do you want to tell the students and their parents?


= Any day the students and parents take over this struggle, we will go back to class. To say the government we elected you, you’re using our funds. If you are going for election next year, ask them where their children are schooling; if they stay outside the country, don’t vote for them. They should insist that their children, who are abroad, are brought back home, and then we will go back to class


© Punch Newspaper 


 #lakevibezmedia

Saturday, May 21, 2022

BENUE 2023: FR. ALIA'S SUSPENSION, LONG OVER-DUE, WE EXPECTED IT - SUPPORTERS

 BENUE 2023: FR. ALIA'S SUSPENSION, LONG OVER-DUE, WE EXPECTED IT - SUPPORTERS



As it stands, convincing Benue electorates against the candidature of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, on any premise is becoming relatively more difficult as varying reactions greeted Benue media space on the suspension of the Priest from Public Ministry by the Catholic Bishop of Gboko, Most Rev. William Avenya. 


In a letter signed by the Bishop, he said;


'You are aware that my son, your brother and your priest has purchased the party forms to contest for the Office of the Governor of Benue State under the All Progressives' Congress (APC), which is totally against our vocation.'


He continued that, 'Therefore, to respond to the spiritual and pastoral needs of the Church in the Catholic Diocese of Gboko, I have suspended him from the exercise of sacred ministry. This canonical suspension takes effect from the moment it is communicated to him and lasts until he ceases from contumacy.'


According to his supporters, this move by the Bishop is normal, proper and correct. AL Utsaha said, 'There is nothing malicious here. The church has rules and the Bishop is enforcing them. Nothing in the letter means that the Bishop is PERSONALLY ANGRY or may not even vote for Fr. Alia if he became the candidate of APC.'


Other supporters of the Catholic Priest are of the opinion that, the suspension is equivalent to 'work/study leave' in public service, as the Priest and his service to the church will resume after eight years in office.


Lending his voice, a Benue NNPP Gubernatorial candidate Simon Gusah said; 'Church is not (I repeat NOT) punishing, nor looking down on Fr Alia, rather, the church is freeing him, to pursue his political aspiration. Once he's done, make no mistake, with a little "timeout" to prepare him for priestly service, he'll be back in the fold. This is as it was for Fr Adasu, and so it shall be for Fr Alia. I repeat my statement at the Alia Alliance meeting in Abuja: Fr Alia kuma Gomna!!!'

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