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INEC picks new dates for 2023 election

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Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent to the amended electoral act, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced new dates for the 2023 elections.

The National Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu made this known at a news conference in Abuja.

According to him, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will now hold on Saturday, February 25, 2023.

Governorship and state houses of assembly elections will hold on March 11, 2023.
Buhari signed the amended electoral act on Friday having rejected it earlier and the National Assembly reworked it and sent it back.

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Senator Kadiri eulogises ex-president Shagari for initiating Ajaokuta Steel company

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***Says, Kogi governorship election was a sham

An All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, Senator Alex Kadiri has eulogised late former president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari for several infrastructural development initiated by his administration, notable among which is the conception and construction of the Ajaokuta Steel Company, in Kogi State.

Senator Kadiri who represented Kogi East in the Senate from 1999 to 2003 said the Shagari administration made giant strides towards the advancement of the Nigeria with a nationalistic view

The steel complex which was said to have been about 90% completed in 1984 by late Nigerian first executive President Alhaji Shehu Shagari had been abandoned by successive administrations and the gigantic project has been lying fallow almost in the shadow of its potentials.

He lamented that if subsequent governments after the Shagari administration in 1983 had been sincere in completing the project, it would have taken Nigeria to its Eldorado.

Senator Kadiri spoke to journalists receltly in Abuja after a trip to his hometown Odu in Dekina, Local Government of Kogi State.

He urged Nigerians to pray for the late president Shagari because the level his government left Ajaokuta as the president of Nigeria is where it is today as he described the gigantic project as a national disgrace and shame.

“Nigerians, we are so wasteful, so indecent. I don’t think Nigerians deserves any good thing,” he said.

He said the road leading to Lokoja the Kogi State capital has been under construction for the past seventeen years, yet the road has no portion that can be said to have been concluded.

“There’s no other state capital that looks like mine. Which was also the first country’s capital. I passed through that road with tears in my eyes.
“It’s very unfortunate for me that my party is APC. It has not done any thing across the river Niger for the past eight years.

“God knows, we know, If this is democracy, then we are not practicing such in that part of kogi state. Nigerians resources were just wasted by INEC by conducting a sham election.

“Once I arrived at my village, everyone was looking very frail and impoverished and dispirited in a country in which they live. They can’t go elsewhere, they’re stuck.

“I’m even mocked by my children about the fact that I speak about such things and I’m being paid with a deaf ear. They feel that I’m criticizing the government too much and should just keep quiet like every other person, because that’s what Nigeria wants.

“Nigerians are bing treated like conquered slaves. We’ve not conquered Nigerians. We’ve not conquered Kogi State. We’ve not conquered the Igala people. We’ve not conquered the individuals. We’ve forced them and this force cannot be sustained.”

According to him, the November 11, governorship election was a rape of democracy as nobody voted for anyone, adding that there was no election.

“The government will feel like, they in control of all the local governments, we’ve all the councils, all the chairmen.
He pleased with God to forgive him, his family because we know not what we’re doing. We’re taking Nigerians as nothing, and in fact they have no choice. They can’t protest.

He blamed the National Assembly members from Kogi State who want to play roles of the executive.

“They now want to construct boreholes, roads, schools and so on, which are the functions of the executive. They are supposed to make laws for good governance of the country, the state and the local governments. They are not expected to do such.”

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ACF chairman makes case for host communities to get 13% revenue derivation 

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**Says Governors have been misappropriating the monies

The Arewa Consultative Forum, (ACF) chairman, Architect Gabriel Aduku has appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to ensure that the 13% Revenue derivation is not given to States but for communities bearing oil and other mineral resources.
He said the monies should be directly given to the communities instead of their State governments

Aduku who was a former Minister of Health was also an elected member of the Abacha’s Constitutional Conferece between 1994 to 1995 where he was the chairman of the Revenue Allocation committee which was on the schedule.

“So for this particular 13% revenue derivation Formular I will appeal to the president of the country to ensure that the governors have nothing to do with it.

He said, Tinubu who himself is experienced in governance as a two term Governor of Lagos State, a former senator and is a person that has mixed with people to reconsider the implementation and ensure that the host comunities benefit directly.

“The implementation of these should be strictly put together. The governors will have nothing to do with the derivation of thirteen percent fund that is in the constitution, its for all the communities that are affected. 

He said the derivation is good but  implementation had been the problem. “Many of the governors thereafter saw money and they would look at what to do, they would prefer to do the things themselves rather than give it to the people that are affected for the purpose for which it is derived. 
“So that has been wrong, it became a major problem and one of the problems in Nigeria since the 13% revenue derivation came into law during the administration of Obansanjo in particular.
“We have seen what some governors have done with it and it encourages them to aspire to become President of Nigeria since they have money now. They use money making a factor for democracy so unfortunately it’s one of the evils that have eaten up this country. 

“But it can be simply managed if only there is sincerely of purpose in the people. So I submit again that the derivation factor is a blessing to Nigerians, and in all other considerations it affects the people, because governance is about the people, not about individuals, how much one can make out of it, or how much their friends made out of it. 

He said Implementation of ideas or critical decisions for the progress of this country has been bedeviled overtime and it appears to continue to get worse. “So my candid input is that we should ensure that that particular 13% is allocated to the communities, by identifying the communities and putting an instrument, a management instrument that will be composed of people of integrity within the communities.  
“And when they put themselves together they should constitute their leadership themselves, and such leadership can only be supervised by the government of the State and that of the federation on how that resource of thirteen percent is used within the communities.

“The interesting thing is that discussion were taken, we made an agenda for it and more of it was amicably discussion all through. 

“Cardinal among the issue is the decision which is the derivation factor. Derivation factor from our search and researches has been on even during the self government of Northern Nigeria, western Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria and so on. 

“Derivation were being applied to manage resources. We found out that derivation is important and so it should come to play in what we are doing. 

“So in the course of our meetings and so on the 13% derivatives formular became necessary for the areas of oil production of which at that time were mineral contributing States substantially to the nation’s economy.
He said the approval was given and it was organised and members of the committee travelled to the oil bearing areas in Portharcourt in the South South, warri for a physical visit to the sites where we can observe for ourselves the extent of damage the exploration has caused the people, the pollution of the natural water, the danage to the arable lands and so on
He said after their trip they settled to discuss the issue of 13% derivation as basis for revenue allocation.
According to him, the Olu of Warri at that time after they explained their mission to him and what they had done so far, asked what the committee had seen. 
He provided an aircraft to come or one of those oil expert to come and take to go and see more. 
“That’s how he provided for us and got the oil companies to aid us to see these sites and that’s why we were able to fly over areas where the oil exploitation was carried out, including areas where gas flaring took place and we could see the effect. 
“We flew round and in fact came as near as certain points where they were habitations within the area of this gas flaring. We saw people living in some kind of islands on top of the river.
“The effect of the oil was very obvious on the water. So we had the opportunity of seeing quite a bit of what was going on, and it made our discussion a little more fascinating for everyone that was in the committee, in the sense that we could appreciate the difficulties that people who lived in those areas were facing.

“Their water polluted, their atmosphere polluted. So there’s definitely need to take care of these people who by nature are already living in that area. They were pockets of agricultural activities but you could see certain areas where the agricultural activities were also affected by the oil spillage all around. 

“This is not to talk of the open naked water that is polluted, and that’s where they drink water from. So we could imagine their difficulties. By the time we came back through Ajaokuta, because the same Olu of warri provided us an aircraft which could land on water and on ground. 

“So it was easy for us to come back through Ajaokuta, so we landed on river Niger in Ajaokuta, at the Julius Berger’s port. 

“It was amazing for the members. Most of the members had never really travelled South to see things,

not to talk of with an aircraft that lands on water and then goes like a boat to the port, and then drop us and went back. 

“By the time we met at Ajaokuta and reviewed the situation in Ajaokuta we could only sympathise that Nigeria has the opportunities, but are we tidying them up?. It made our discussion, again a lot easier with full attention of my members most of the time. 

“We got a resolution that says final resolution apart from details. It is to say that for all, the Revenue Allocation will be based on derivation. 

“The derivation factor we arrived at was, not less than 13% of the minerals produced in that area which should go back to service the people. 

“That is the ultimate aim. Looking at the sufferings of the people. The first set of governors that were to utilise the place was shortly after Abdulsalam’s administrstionAnd when they got in there was derivation factor of course had gone in and it should go to the states that are affected that’s how it was simply put. 

Today the surprising thing is that Abacha’s regime was not accorded the opportunity of turning that conference outcome into reality because of the change that occurred. “And we could see that because of the value of that derivation committee work the regime of Abdulsalam decided to extract that portion, and carry on. 

“And that is why it is today in the constitution which is being used and of course the normal ammendment today is resolved into the Petroleum bill as we started. 

“So the background is very interesting and I’m happy that I chaired that controversial issue and it has become a reality and it should be applied. 

“Now Nigeria has a problem as some of us have observed in all sectors the problem of implementation. 

Why do we have that? We have loaded ourselves with so much of insincerity and lack of purposefulness of what we are to do to manage our country, we lost it. 

“With the insincerity, indiscipline, it has resulted into what we’re having now,Total insecurity that is destroying our development. By the time we analyse this in things that is insincerity, indiscipline that is equating to insecurity, we are not very safe. 

“But the intentions have always been there a lot of desires are all in the cupboards of all governments ,but implementation is. So we saw it coming.”

“Today, I find myself in kogi state and I chaired that occasion. Kogi state has become the only state in the North that has been marked as oil producing state after some protractions here and there but at last it is there. 

“I would like to give you the insight on how this implementation should be carried out just in the way I have said it. 

“We have traditional leadership which was established before the colonial times and we have a head of it of which we call the Atta of Igala. “The area of petroleum that came out is in his domain, Ibaji area, so to say and there are several locations that are very close to it. 

“The communities are obvious and whatever derivation comes out of it should directly be used in the interest of the people through the community administration, native authorities administration.

“That is how we grew up, that is how we saw sense in using and enjoying government facilities and caring for it. So the idea of sincerity of purpose has to come into administration of these resources otherwise it can be another blow”

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FG says it will set aside over 1.2m metric tonnes of wheat for National Food Reserve

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By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse

In its effort to curtail overdependence on importation of Wheat from foreign countries, the federal government has projected to add over 1.2 million metric tonnes to the national food reserve at the end of 2023/2024 dry season wheat farming.

Minister For Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari made the disclosure on Saturday while flagging off the 2023/2024 national Wheat productions policy at Kadume village of Hadejia local government, Jigawa state.

He indicated that over 100,000 hectres would be cultivated this year to limit the country’s dependence on importation of the product.

Senator Abubakar Kyari said over 250, 000 farmers are to benefit from the federal government support to achieve production of over 1,250,000 metric tones across the nation.

The minister explained that, the flagging off of the program is a key activity in the implementation of federal government food security policy.

He noted that 100,000 hectres are targeted under the 2023/2024 national dry season Wheat productions policy, and a special package for 50 percent subsidy was designed for the registered farmers and their cluster.

“The registered farmers will be given free seeds while other inputs will be sold to them at 50 percent subsidy, aims at enhancing their capabilities to implement the program.

“Under the Federal Government policy we want improve our crops yields by 20 percent this year, with Wheat outputs targeted at 400,000, to 500,000 tones. Equally we will gradually continue to improve our irrigation facilities to diversify crops production for achieving food security, Jobs creation, growth and development “.

The Minister commended the commitments demonstrated by Jigawa state government and it’s farmers which proved to federal government that the state is a key and a reliable partner in achieving federal government food security policy, jobs creation and poverty eradication.

In his speech the JIgawa State governor, Malam Umar Namadi has called on the federal government to accelerate the completion of the Hadejia Valley Irrigation Project with potential irrigable area of over 25,000 hectares.

The governor said the area has the capacity to significantly deliver the Food Security objective of President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

Malam Umar Namadi explained that the Hadejia Valley Project, which was initiated by the Late Shagari Administration in the early 1980s, is still less than 25% completed after almost four decades.

According to him “Following a flag-off of the project performed in 2018, it is noteworthy that earlier this year, former President Muhammad Buhari has commissioned the successful completion of a segment of the Project covering about 6,000 hectares”.

The governor maintained that “There is no doubt that has significantly contributed to our quest for food security, job creation, and economic diversification. Despite this significant stride, however, there is still a long way to go considering the Project’s potentials. It is my prayer that the Tinubu Administration will make history by completing the project 100%.”

The governor note that the elaborate flag-off event as blessed by the presence of all these dignitaries underscores the priority attached to the Program which is critical to the attainment of State’s and National Development objectives of food security, economic diversification, and empowerment of the citizens.

He added that as many of us are aware, the Wheat Development Program an integral part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu aimed at accelerating the Nation’s drive to achieve food security.

It also perfectly aligns with several aspects of our 12-Point Agenda for Greater Jigawa particularly as it affects food security, economic diversification, job creation, provision of sustainable means of livelihoods for the citizens, and overall poverty reduction.

Accordingly, both the Federal Government and the Government of Jigawa State have accorded a topmost priority to the Program for which all hands would be on deck to ensure its success.

“Over the years, Jigawa State has successfully pursued an Agricultural Transformation Agenda which has significantly contributed to our Nation’s quest for food security and economic diversification”.

Malam Namadi stated further that, “Today, Jigawa State is a leading producer of rice, sesame, and hibiscus among many other crops. One of the resolutions under our 12-Point Agenda is to ensure full exploitation of the Jigawa State’s agricultural potentials through all-year round production by bringing more of our fadama lands under cultivation, gradual expansion of our irrigation facilities, and mobilizing our teeming youths into Agriculture and its entire value chain”.

He emphasized that the Wheat development programme partnership with the Federal Government is in line with state the government’s resolve to sustain progress and build on previous achievements of the agricultural transformation agenda. “It is in line with our objective to sustainably improve the socioeconomic well-being of our citizens.”

“I am also truly delighted by the choice of Jigawa State as the primary focal State for the Wheat Development Program. It is common knowledge that Jigawa State is the heart of wheat production in Nigeria with potential to provide up to 200,000 hectares for wheat production. “

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