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Worried of Nigeria’s Collapse, Afenifere, CLO, Condemn APC’s Directive To Lawmakers

The  pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, on Friday condemned the directive issued  by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to its members in the National  Assembly to work against the interest of the Federal Government.The  APC issued the directive in a communique issued at the end of its 8th  Interim National Executive Committee Meeting, Thursday in Abuja.The committee had directed its members in the National Assembly to block all legislative proposals.Mr. Yinka OdunmakinIt  cited some of the legislative proposals to be blocked to include the  2014 Budget and the confirmation of all nominees to military and  civilian positions, pending the resolution of the crisis in Rivers StateSpokesman of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said that the directive was tantamount to shutting down the country.“The most dangerous of the APC’s recommendation is encouraging its members to engage in things that may lead to instability.“The APC fails to think of the implications of not passing the budget and its effect on Nigerian masses.“Also,  if approval for the service chiefs is not given by NASS because of  political disagreements in a state, it may lead to mutiny.“This recommendation is also coming at a time when Boko Haram is intensifying its activities in Nigeria.“We condemn this directive in its totality because it is a threat to our democracy.”In  his reaction, the Lagos State Chairman of the Civil Liberties  Organisation (CLO), Mr Ehi Omokhuale, described the directive as  insensitive.“Politicians should limit their selfish fights to themselves.“The APC wants to use its political interest to affect the welfare of Nigerian citizens.“We do not support it and we demand that the party retraces its steps on this issue immediately,” Omokhuale said.Also  speaking, Mr. Adesina Animashaun, the National Chairman of the  Patriotic Vanguard, a non-governmental body, said that the directive  might lead to anarchy.“It is unfathomable how a party leadership could meet and issue such directive.“The masses will definitely be at the receiving end and it will put Nigeria in a big crisis.”He urged APC members in the National Assembly to disregard the directive and do what was right for “God and Man.Rep.  Femi Gbajabiamila, the Minority Leader, House of Representatives,  however, disagreed, saying that APC members in the lower legislative  chamber would ensure the enthronement of good governance in Nigeria.Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos), who made the pledge in an interview, stated that government shut-down was not new in party politics.“Government shut-down or filibustering is nothing new in party politics world over,” he said.

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Obasanjo, Yar’adua and Jonathan fraudulently spent N4.17trillion

THE PUNCH – Nigerian leaders have cultivated the fraudulent culture of  extra-budgetary spending. The latest atrocity is embodied in a report of  the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, detailing  how the Federal Government incurred an illegal expenditure of N4.17  trillion between 2004 and 2012. The period spanned the tenure of three  presidents: Olusegun Obasanjo; the late Umaru Yar’Adua; and the  incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan. With none of them ever brought to book for  this act, the unconstitutional practice continues to fester. In a sad trajectory, the National Assembly that has the oversight  function to check the wrong practice has also failed to discharge its  duties. An effective deterrent by the parliament, in the form of not  approving annual budgets or even taking the drastic step of impeaching  those culpable, would have sent a strong signal to the errant  Presidents. Instead of advancing noble ideals, legislators are only  interested in feathering their own nests by regularly increasing their  unjustifiably high remuneration. Through what is called the Service Wide Vote, the government has  unlawfully expended N2.27 trillion more than the N1.8 trillion approved  by the National Assembly for the nine years. The SWV is earmarked for  emergencies that are not covered by Appropriation Act in a financial  year. Of significance is the committee’s observation. “Contrary to …  using the vote for emergencies, after its examination of the  Auditor-General’s reports on the accounts of MDAs, the committee  discovered indiscriminate use of the vote in funding government projects  and programmes that should otherwise have been provided for in the  annual budget, as such expenditure were never contingent in nature,” the  report said. This is irresponsible. This time, the lawmakers must get to the root  of the matter by compelling the affected MDAs to account for the funds.  This is the only way to stop officials of this government and its  successors from engaging in this corrupt act. The Executive must be made  to account for its frivolity in this matter. While it is understandable  to use the SWV to address the militancy in the Niger Delta region and  anti-terror war in the North-East, it is nauseating that the SWV was  abused to the tune of N1.2 billion during the period just to sponsor  public officials overseas to seek medical attention. It is equally disgusting that the SWV was abused to cater for Charles  Taylor, the former Liberian president, who was on exile in Nigeria.  Taylor’s upkeep in one year reportedly gulped N250 million. “The period  2007 to 2012 witnessed astronomical increases in SWV releases to MDAs.  It is evident that releases to the MDAs from the SWV during the period  ranged from 68.88 per cent to 344.4 per cent of recurrent allocations to  the affected MDAs,” the report added. This is unpardonable. The  practice of spending public money as if there are no other pressing  needs in the country must stop. Last October, the United States government (executive) was forced to  observe a partial shutdown of its activities after the US Congress  failed to pass the bill authorising the government to spend any money.  While the rancorous incident lasted (October 1 to 16), mostly on  hardened party lines, President Barack Obama did not dare spend a cent  outside of budgetary provisions until he eventually worked out a deal  with opposition lawmakers. Not so in Nigeria where presidents brazenly  spend public funds without approval or censure. Apart from the SWV abuse, there are other serious cases of  misapplication of public funds. A glaring instance, as an investigation  early this year by the Senate discovered, is the abuse of Special Funds,  violated to the tune of N1 trillion within 10 years. The special funds  include the Ecological Fund, the Stabilisation Fund, and the Natural  Resources Development Account, which are routinely diverted for purposes  other than what they are legally meant. Also, the Tertiary Education  Trust Fund is being diverted to areas other than its original purpose,  such as in building almajiri schools.

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Ohaneze bombs Okorocha

The Ohaneze Ndigbo, the apex socio-cultural organisation of Ndigbo, yesterday took a swipe at the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha over his statement concerning the problem of Igbo unity. It described the governor’s statement as one coming from a confused man. The Anambra State Chairman of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Elder Chris Eluemuno, described Governor Okorocha as the highest ‘confusionist’ and enemy of Ndigbo that ever lived. Elder Eluemuno said that the state chapter of Ohaneze Ndigbo after critically appraising the antecedents of Governor Okorocha and the statement credited to him that Anambra people were the problem of Ndigbo, came to the conclusion that he was playing an unknown script of enemies of Ndigbo and Nigeria at large.

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Jerry Gana- North’s opposition to Jonathan’s 2nd term 2015 unfair

A member of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Board of Trustees, Professor Jerry Gana, yesterday, described as unfair the mounting opposition from the north against President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid in 2015. Prof. Gana, who made the claim in an exclusive interview with Vanguard in Abuja, pointed out that Jonathan had an inalienable right to run again in 2015, as there was no law barring him from the contest. Gana pleaded with those in the north still opposed to Jonathan’s presidential bid in 2015 to give him a chance to complete his tenure as provided for by the Nigerian Constitution. According to the BoT member, it is wrong for uninformed persons to claim that Jonathan had hit the limit of his tenure after serving out the late President