Governors of the All progressives congress (APC) met with its National working committee late last night in Abuja to discuss certain issues/crisis plaguing the party.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-rufai said that the governors had restated their support for Buhari, adding that his state of health had no issue with politics.
“We are not worried about the development, it is not compulsory for the president to preside over every Federal Executive Council (FEC), that is why our constitution makes available the place of the Vice President”
El-rufai’s statements are coming after Buhari’s absence at the FEC meeting held on Wednesday. This was the 3rd time in a row that the president did not attend such an important meeting thus fueling rumors that his health was in a bad shape.
The petite Kaduna governor further stated;
“Mr. President is 74 years old; at that age, it is possible to have one ailment or the other, even I, at 57 take medication for one ailment or the other. Our prayer is that the president gets better but the reason he has a Vice President is because of a time like this, it may not be as a result of sickness that he did not attend FEC, he may have had other pressing issues to attend to.”
“I have not had to chair every State Executive Council in Kaduna state because the deputy governor is there if I have other issues of greater priority to attend to. Muhammadu Buhari “We are not worried yet or have any reason to be worried but I call on every Nigerian to join all of us to pray for the improved health of the President. It has improved in the last few weeks since he came back and we will continue to pray for his improved health.”
Speaking on matters discussed at the meeting, Elrufai said;
“We have committed to providing the NWC all the support that they need. We will also engage in fundraising from our donors, sympathizers of the APC to ensure that the national headquarters of the party and indeed all organs of the party have the wherewithal to continue with the difficult work they have been doing within the party.” “The joint meeting between the NWC and the governors also resolved that at our next meeting, we are going to look at the arrangements for the midterm convention and put in place the resources necessary to ensure that the convention
“The joint meeting between the NWC and the governors also resolved that at our next meeting, we are going to look at the arrangements for the midterm convention and put in place the resources necessary to ensure that the convention holds as required by our party. “The governors restate their loyalty to Mr. President, the Vice President and all leaders of our party; we enjoin Nigerians to continue to pray for the improved health of the President.”
Some Governors boycotted the meeting
Politics Nigeria discovered that governors loyal to the National leader of the party, Bola Tinubu were absent at the meeting. The governors include; Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, Godwin Obaseki of Edo state and Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state. Another governor missing at the meeting was Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa state, a loyalist of party chieftain, Atiku Abubakar.
Freedom Nyathi, a Zimbabwean, has been arrested and sent to jail for 8-months after he was found guilty of having sexual intercourse with a donkey.
Freedom was arraigned before the Zvishavane Magistrate Cocurt, where he was sentenced to 8-months imprisonment and was charged with ‘bestiality’.
During the court hearing, Prosecutor Shiela Mpindu told the court that on March 17, Nyathi, was caught abusing the donkey by a man.
He said the matter was then reported to the owner of the donkey who reported the matter to the police leading to Nyathi’s arrest. Guilty of the crime, Nyathi, 20, told the court that he was a married man with a pregnant wife and didn’t know what overcame him.
Zvishavane Magistrate Shepherd Munjanja who presided over case frown at his plea and sentenced him to 8months in Prison.
•Kogi highest indebted with 15 months unpaid salaries
•FG owes workers N290bn promotion arrears
LAGOS—No fewer than 12 states are still owing their workers a backlog of salaries and allowances, despite double bailout funds from the Federal Government, with Kogi State owing as many as 15 months, Vanguard investigations have revealed.
Also on the list of heavily indebted states are Osun, 12 months; Kwara, 11; Bayelsa, 7; Ondo, 7; Ekiti, 6; and Oyo, 6.
Others are Benue State, 4 months; Nasarawa State, 2; Abia, 2; Imo, 2; as well as several months of unpaid allowances and Ogun State, which owes over six months of unremitted deductions from workers’ salaries for cooperatives, union dues, among others.
This revelation came as Organised Labour accused the Federal Government of owing civil servants a whopping N290 billion promotion arrears, lamenting that all efforts at making the government pay had not yielded any positive result.
Giving an overview of the salary situations across the states, Secretary-General of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, Bashir Alade Lawal, told Vanguard that some states were still defaulting in payment, in spite of the huge bailout received from the Federal Government.
He said: “Osun State is owing one year, Ekiti is owing six months, Oyo is owing six months, Ondo is owing seven months; Beyelsa is owing seven months; Abia, two months; Benue four months; Kogi 15 months; Nasarawa three months.
‘’Ogun can claim it is not owing but it is not paying deductions from workers’ salaries in some cases, six, seven, eight months. They are only paying net, not gross. So, if you have paid net and you have not paid all deductions, you have not paid full salaries.
‘’As at today, Anambra is not owing, likewise Borno, Delta, Edo, Ebonyi, Cross River, Rivers, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos, Niger, Plateau, Taraba, Zamfara and Sokoto.
“Anywhere in the world, you pay workers’ salaries first before doing anything else. For example, in Osun State, some senior staff are being owed over two years allowances. In order words, you can simply say they are being owed one year salaries. What are the explanations? ‘’Bailout has been given about three times and the last one with clear directive from the Federal Government for the states to focus on salaries and pensions, but Osun State government claimed that government was not instructed to use the entire bailout to pay workers’ salaries.”
In Kwara State, Vanguard gathered that the government has not paid staff in the parastatals in the state up to March, 2017 and that the last time workers were paid was February 2017.
It was also learned that the local government workers are worse off as they are being owed as many as 11 months, with the exemption of Barutin Local Government which had paid up to date because of its low personnel staff and the remote location.
Reacting to the development, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of kwara State on Media and Communications, Dr Muideen Akorede, told Vanguard that the state government had paid workers in state parastatals , their salaries
He said: “We are up to date, so we are not owing any of our staff. If anyone has not been paid, such staff will be paid before the close of this week. Though I don’t have all the details, you may please contact Commissioner for Finance, Demola Banu, for more information.”
Vanguard checks, however, confirmed that staff of state-owned Kwara TV; Herald Newspapers, Radio Kwara, were paid their March salaries last week.
In Ondo State, Vanguard also gathered that the state government was owing six month salaries- August to December 2016 and January 2017, though the new governor, Rotimi Akeredolu paid salaries of August, 2016 as well as February and March 2017.
In is reaction, Chief Press Secretary to the governor , Segun Ajiboye, said the immediate past government owed workers six months ( August 2016 to January 2017) salaries but noted that the present administration under Rotimi Akeredolu, had paid February and March 2017 to workers on assumption of office.
He added that during the Easter period, Governor Akeredolu also paid the arrears of August 2016 to workers to celebrate the festivity.
In Oyo State, investigations revealed that none of the workers, both at the core civil service and local government, had been paid their salaries up to March 2017, while some of the workers are yet to be paid since December, last year.
Similarly, in Kogi State, workers have not been paid for many months, as the staff screening embarked upon by the state government since March, last year, has continued to hinder many of the workers from receiving their salaries.
It was learned that aside from those who were on the cleared list from the screening report released in December 2016, and had received their salary up till February, over 40 per cent of both local government and state workers have not received their salaries since September, last year.
Reacting, yesterday, the Chief Press Secretary to the Kogi State Governor, Petra Anyegbule said the state government does not owe workers except those whose genuine status as state workers are still in doubt and under verification as workers by the screening appeal committee.
She said when their status is verified, all genuine workers will be paid, urging them to exercise patience till when the screening appeal committee will have concluded their assignment.
She said the civil service reform embarked on by the governor must be total, adding that 96 per cent of those who had been cleared have received their salaries to date.
Imo State workers have for long, been receiving varying percentages of emoluments, against the approved wages. Civil servants contacted, confirmed that salaries for the month of March and April 2017, were outstanding.
They also affirmed that government only paid 80 per cent of legitimate salary to the senior staff and 100 per cent to the junior ranks.
Benue State government blamed its inability to regularly pay the wages of workers in the state on the sharp drop in the allocation from the Federation Account.
Speaking to Vanguard in a telephone interview in Makurdi, the Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the Governor, Mr. Terver Akaase, said despite the decline from the Federation Allocation, the Samuel Ortom-led administration had been able to reduce the backlog from about six months which the government inherited from the last administration to three months.
Akaase said: “The fact of the matter is that before the advent of the present administration, Benue was getting an average of N6 billion monthly from the Federation Allocation.
“Unfortunately, since the coming to power of the present administration, the government has been receiving an average of N2 billion monthly while our monthly wage bill is over N4.1 billion.
“What it meant is that what we receive monthly cannot in any way match our monthly wage bill, let alone having anything to embark on developmental projects, so we are left with the option of alternating salary payments by using two or three allocations to offset a month’s salary.
“The situation today is that we are owing three months unpaid salaries and we are hoping that the Paris Club debt refund will help us clear at least two months of the backlog and from there, we will be making progress.”
Meanwhile, ASCSN has said the Federal Government was owing civil servants N290 billion promotion arrears, lamenting all efforts to make government pay have not yielded any positive result.
According to ASCSN’s scribe, the federal government is busy bailing out states and local governments without its own workers.
He said: “You promote somebody from grade level 9 to 10, from 10 to 12, 12 to 13 and in some cases, from 13, to 14 and he or she is still earning the salary of level 9. All these arrears of promotions have accumulated to almost N290 billion.
‘’We have engaged this government from day one and up till now, it has not paid. This is very callous and wicked. The sad thing about it is that some are entitled to N50,000, N500,000 and things like that, depending on the grade level. Some have retired now.
“We are not even asking the government to pay everything at once. You can say, alright, let us start paying N70 billion and before you know what is happening, you have cleared this bill. It is like the government is not interested until you take to the streets. When you go to the streets that is when you now see the highest office in the land calling the Finance Minister to pay.
‘’You know you are owing and you are bailing out others, bailing out the state and local governments, you are not bailing out yourself.
“We have made noise, but government is not listening. So, we are preparing and very shortly, we will do something to at least, compel the government to look at our side. This indebtedness to workers at the federal level dates back to 2007 and we are talking about 2017.
‘’That is over 10 years. It is a precarious situation, but we are hopeful that some of the actions we intend to take will compel government to address the issue.”
Efforts to reach the Ministry of Finance for comments, last night, proved abortive as no one was ready to speak for the ministry.
Abuja, on Monday morning, I received a message that the Chief Security Officer to the President, Bashir Abubakar, would like to see me in his office. What came to my mind immediately was that it was the Presidency’s Media Office that interfaces with journalists and not the CSO. I felt I should inform the presidential spokesmen before honouring the strange invitation.
I proceeded to the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, and informed him of the invitation. Adesina advised that I honoured it and updated him of developments. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, was not in the office at the time but I contacted him on the telephone.
On getting to the CSO’s office, he was initially polite. He offered me a seat and asked how I was doing and I replied I was fine. He then first confronted me with my column, Aso Rock Lens, published on Saturday, April 22, 2017. He was angry with one of the items in the column titled ‘Seat of power’s event centres going into extinction’. In that piece, I highlighted some places in the Presidential Villa that hitherto had hosted high-profile events. I wrote that lately, events had not been held inside the halls. He said I was insinuating that government had collapsed in Nigeria.
The CSO then brought out a copy of April 23, 2017 edition of SUNDAY PUNCH. He was visibly angry about the lead story titled ‘Fresh anxiety in Aso Rock over Buhari’s poor health’. That story was about how the President had not been seen in public in the last two weeks except when he made brief appearances at the mosque inside the Presidential Villa for Juma’at services last Friday and penultimate Friday. That story included the reaction of Adesina, who said the President was recuperating and that the prayer of all was that he recovered fully soon.
The CSO queried the motive behind the two stories.
He told me that the President was free to rule the country from wherever he liked. He said the stories were meant to portray the President as incapacitated and that it had to do with the politics of 2019.
He told me he would take me to the President’s official residence to see him and then tell him (the CSO) if Buhari was incapacitated. He never did that.
Abubakar added that if God had sanctioned it that Buhari would rule the country for eight years, no man could stop him. He made reference to the fact that people who were not even sick died daily.
The CSO thereafter directed one of his men to take my statement and revert to him. The man took me to his office. I wrote in the statement that I had no ulterior motive in writing the stories in question. I was updating presidential spokesmen of developments as earlier agreed. The gentleman took my statement and I returned to the CSO’s office.
On getting there, Abubakar asked the Officer-in-Charge of the Department of State Services, Victor Nwafor, to seize my accreditation tag. He said he should escort me to retrieve my personal belongings from the Press Gallery and then leave instructions with security operatives that I should not be allowed access into the Presidential Villa again.
Nwafor carried out the assignment dutifully. He passed the message to the security officials at the Admin Reception and then handed me over to another security operative who he instructed to do the same thing at the Pilot Gate before escorting me to where I parked my car to ensure that I left the premises immediately.
I was driven from there in a security vehicle. At the Pilot Gate, the gentleman assembled all security operatives there and delivered the message to them. I caught one of them, a policeman, snapping my photograph with his telephone handset and I protested. I told him I am not a criminal and he has no right to snap me. He was apologetic and attempted to show me the handset to prove that he had deleted the picture but I told him I was not interested in his claim.
I was driven in the same security van to where I parked my car and I drove out of the Presidential Villa from there.
The CSO had penultimate Thursday had an interactive session with members of the State House Press Corps, during which he handed them guidelines on how to report the Villa.
He had also in January complained about a story on an accidental discharge that injured a female worker at the State House. Although all national newspapers reported the incident, he singled out The PUNCH and Daily Trust.
His argument was that the story was not informative, educative or entertaining.
“Buhari Must Develop Nigeria, Even If He Has To Steal From Other Countries” – World Bank Consultant Tells President
President of Nigeria Economic Society and a World Bank consultant, Olu Ajakaiye, has said the Muhammadu Buhari led government and subsequent Nigerian governments must develop the country, by force, even if it means stealing from other countries.
Ajakaiye, who was the keynote speaker at the 2017 edition of The Bullion Lecture organised by the Centre for Financial Journalism, said many first world nations have stolen their way to development.
“Let us therefore not be under any illusion and say the market will do it. They have to make sure they provide the market, whatever it takes, including stealing from other countries,”
“The developed systems that we have now were as a result of resources taken from here, and they are ahead. Their government didn’t say we would be nice guys, we would not go and steal.
“They carried our people, young people, valuable people, and they now established the first world.”
Ajakaiye dissected Buhari’s economic recovery and growth plan (ERGP), and applauded it as a good plan, if properly implemented and funded according to targets.
The development economics specialist said the ERGP has set out 21 clear programmes, with 60 strategies and 365 key activities, which has been assigned to lead agencies across the public and private sectors.
He said N75.03 trillion will be needed to implement the plan, which runs from 2017 to 2020.