Vice President Yemi Osinbajo meets Winners of the Dreamers Project

On January 19, 2018- 15 Primary 6 winners of the 2017 Dreamers Project across selected public primary schools in Abuja had an extraordinary time meeting and listening to Vice President HE Yemi Osinbajo share his childhood dreams and tips on designing the future. The session began with remarks by the Founder of R2S Africa, Simi Fajemirokun who introduced the Dreamers Projects and the participants in the room. The meeting with the Vice President was an interactive session where students asked the Vice President questions such as does he have a vision board? Was he ever uncertain about his future and why did he venture into politics?

The Vice President responded that he doesn’t have a vision board but he does have a board where he writes quotes that inspire him. One of such quotes he shared was ‘Not by Spirits but by men and women’ which basically refers to the task of building Nigeria will not be done by spirits but by men and women working hard. He also shared with the students that at primary 6 he always wanted to be a lawyer. He stated that he did experience some uncertainty when he had an opportunity to get a scholarship to study medicine abroad but he eventually stayed back in Nigeria to pursue a career in law.  In responding to why he joined politics- he stated that he wanted to make a difference and make life easier for each and every one of them. The final question was by Hauwa Haruna who asked if he could sign her vision board and with a big smile he offered to sign every vision board in the room.

The Vice President also made a few remarks and emphasized the need to read as much as possible. He encouraged them to read 3 to 4 books quarterly and emphasized the culture of reading as a sure route to success. He also recognized the efforts of the teachers and head teachers represented in the room by Mrs Adejuwon (Primary 6 class teacher Maitama Primary School) and Mrs Kama (Head Teacher LEA Utako School) to train the future leaders of tomorrow and connected with them as a fellow teacher. Finally, he commented on the efforts of R2S Africa and applauded the impact of the Dreamers Project to instill a sense of purpose very early in life. He also emphasized the importance of living a life of service and building a country we can all be proud of. The students presented gifts to the Vice President with a card that captured his many roles of leadership and service. The students also remarked that ‘we hope you won’t forget us’.

The Vice President took a group photograph with the students and insisted on each student having an individual photograph with him. As the Vice President returned to work the students chanted ‘We love you Prof’ as he waved back enthusiastically. It was a trip to remember and from the excitement of the students on the bus back home- it was clear that this was an excursion of a lifetime.

The event was organized by Read2Succeed (R2S) Africa, a non-profit organization committed to improving the state of basic education in Nigeria in partnership with the Abuja Global Shapers who funded the project. The Dreamers Project is an initiative of R2S Africa that inspires students to dream and design the future. This initiative is a three-week program that delivers goal-setting, a rich array of speakers from diverse professional sectors and a vision board exercise that helps the students to be intentional on designing their future. This attempts to advance past a decayed education system that produces students who are schooling but not learning. The Project currently runs in five schools in Abuja where efforts are being made to connect education and skills to the future of work.

The importance of this meeting was two-fold. Firstly, to recognize the winners of the Dreamers Project as Nigeria’s future workforce. Secondly to showcase what good leadership looks like. This aspect was crucial due to the vision board exercise that revealed  students had a negative perception about leadership. In fact out of 400 vision boards none had public service or any political leadership role. When we asked students to list their heroes, usually entertainers, footballers, doctors and comic heroes topped the list. On the list of villains- Boko Haram, Kidnappers and Political Leaders topped the list. We hope this excursion helped to tell a different narrative and inspire students to take on leadership roles in the future.  The humility and graciousness of the Vice President definitely helped to showcase a non-scary version of leadership the students are accustomed to.

 

Leadership Lessons For Osinbajo’ Critics By Olajimi Smith

In the age of “alternative facts”, the media has been awash with fake news, “post-truths” and outright untruths; where people claiming to be authors or journalists, gleefully revel in these three 21st century anomalies.

It seems some notable names, including a former minister of aviation, have been co-opted into the small, bitter crowd that dishes out such anomalies, disjointedly stewed with plenty of bile and hateful statements.

Such persons have also attempted to denigrate the personality of the Vice President Yemi Osinabjo, SAN, by giving their ‘readers’ a bumpy ride with personal biases and bitterness.

Albeit, in the real world, where truth, fairness and objectivity, not alternative facts, still count for something, such articles are, at best, inconsequential, as they only succeed, in the end, to be indigestible to objective, sane minds, and also leave a bad taste in the mouths of neutral individuals.

Let’s face the facts, do not be clouded by the lies in the disjointed articles against Prof. Osinbajo, including the one written by a former minister of aviation.

The former minister needs to be reminded that officials under the former administration of Goodluck Jonathan were involved in corruption that stank to the heavens.

The vice president said that “N100bn and $289m were withdrawn in cash by President Goodluck Jonathan two weeks before the presidential election ostensibly for security. This was unprecedented stealing and it led to the economic recession that we are suffering today.”

He didn’t even present one fact when he alleged that it was “wild, baseless and frankly absurd allegations and wilful and premeditated display of perfidy.” All he attempted at were unwarranted personal attacks on the vice president, with unfounded statement and libellous claims.

Osinbajo only scratched the surface when he mentioned the amount. Since 2015, Nigerians have come to realise the monumental corruption that happened under Jonathan’s watch; from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, and many other officials in the former administration accused of corruption. The list goes on. Nigeria is still recovering from this wanton thievery from its national purse.

To cover his lack of facts, he based his false claims on false claim; that he could only support with more false claims.

Again, for the umpteenth time, there is no $25 billion NNPC contract scam anywhere. A quick reminder for doubting Thomases, no contracts were procured by the NNPC. Prof. Osinbajo, while as Acting President, only approved Joint Venture Financing arrangements.

Also, there is no agenda by President Muhammadu Buhari to Islamise the country. Like Osinbajo noted, both the Islamic Development Bank and Sukuk bonds are not evidence of any plans by the present administration to Islamise Nigeria.

For instance, Nigeria joined the bank in 2005, under the administration of a Christian, President Olusegun Obasanjo, while the country is today the fourth largest shareholder of the bank.

However, the article in question simply raised a long list of personal grievances against the person of the vice president and the fact that he is committed to the service of his fatherland as vice president. The author, being a former minister, should know and understand the chain of commands and the importance of service to one’s fatherland. Both President Buhari and the vice president are united and work together to achieve the administration’s common goal: to make Nigeria better.

Sadly, it seems the necessary qualities of leadership, among which is service, is lost on Osinbajo’s critics. It seems this new critic is more focused on pursuing his selfish motives than working for his country and in tandem with his former principals.

Also, President Buhari’s comments to the World Bank were taken out of context. The Presidency and the World Bank have since come out to clarify this. The North-East was what the President asked to be given more priority, and the North-East of the country is just a subset of northern Nigeria. In case he pretends not to know, international agencies like the World Bank and NGOs usually give more priority to crisis areas like the North-East that had been ravaged by insurgency.

The vice president, also has condemned, in strongest terms, every form of religious, tribal or ethnic sentiments and violence by any group or individual. He also condemned hate speech, which he described as an act of terrorism.

Even attempting to explain the bulk of disjointed statements in the article is labouring, as it lacks substance, it is almost akin to giving prominence on the table to a badly prepared dish.

Many have adjudged the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo, to be forthright and honest. It has been attested to many times, from the Niger Delta elders forum, Christian and Muslim leaders, some of whom came to visit the Presidential Villa, Abuja recently. Even the man on the streets could be asked about the vice president’s leadership, his selfless service to fatherland and his candour, and they would affirm these. Then people should ask the same of the man turning a critic of Osinbajo. I am certain the answer would be as different as night and day.

I want to kindly leave those uninformed critics with the words of a former First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama, “How we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith. How we insist that this hateful language they hear from public figures on TV (or online) does not represent the true spirit of this country. How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is: when they go low, we go high.

“With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We, as parents, are the most important role models. And let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as President and First Lady, because we know that our words and actions matter. Not just to our girls (and boys), but to children all across this count.

MSME Loans: 50,000 Osun Residents To Benefit From Scheme

….VP Lauds Aregbesola’s Infrastructural Feats

By Kehinde Ayantunji

The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said on Thursday that 50,000 small scales business owners in Osun will access interest free loan to develop their businesses and by extension reduce poverty in the state.

Osinbajo said this in Osogbo during the launching of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) initiatives in Osogbo, State of Osun.

He said President Muhammed Buhari-led administration has identified small and medium enterprise as key sector to repositioning the country’s economy and create wealth for the teeming masses.

According to him, Buhari’s government is determined to end poverty among the people of Nigeria and will continue to assist small and medium enterprises to reduce unemployment in the society.

He said, “Our government is visionary, transparent and committed to the wellbeing of the people, the promise of President Buhari and our party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) is to make life more abundant for the people, our administration is not corrupt and we are going to deliver on our promises.”

“I have inspected some of the small and medium business exhibited here today and it showed that Osun people are reflecting virtuous value of the state, through hardwork and creativity. I see beautiful furniture, artwork, agro- allied products among others and I am impressed that the federal government’s investment on the free interest loan is justifiable.”

“We have brought One Stop Shop here where all the federal government agencies that have to do with small scale business under one roof to address any challenge, our mission is to uplift the poorest Nigerians, federal government is solidly behind you and the state government will also support you to succeed.”

“I rejoice with the people of the state for the developmental strides of Governor Rauf Aregbesola and I urge you to continue to support the governor, I am sure he would fulfill all his promises.

“I have moved down to some places on my arrival and I am so impressed that God answered our prayer that we have someone like Governor Aregbesola, he has redefine social and economic prospect of Osun through massive infrastructural  development”, Osinbajo added.

Governor Rauf Aregbesola in his remarks commended the federal government for the intervention saying the loan will go a long way to reduce poverty  and improve the economy of the state in no distance time.

“We are excited and overwhelmed with the federal government intervention where 20,000 people will have access to N500,000 to N1 Million loan without interest, it is unprecedented and we consider it as a blessing to the people of Osun.

In his address, State Commissioner for Commerce and Investment, Mr Ismaila Alagbada explained that Aregbesola’s administration has distributed N3.5 billion to more than 10,000 people as loans to improve the small scale business and empower the informal workers in the state.

He said they have designed a refunding mechanism for the repayment of the loans and organised the beneficiaries in a way to minimise default.

According to him, the MSME launched in Osun will avail over 10,000 people access to small scale business loans and provide platform for the small and medium entrepreneurs the opportunity to interact with network of government agencies responsible for registering, regulating, and controlling the opportunity to interact on business development and challenges.

The network of government agencies include; Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Small and Medium Enterprises Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Bank of Industry (BOI) among others

The commissioner explained that most of the small scale business owners including market women and artisans are confronting problem with registering their companies and accessing credit to improve the business which informed the One Stop Shop campaign of the federal government.

Alagbada added that through the platform, business owners will be avail with the opportunity to interact with BOI, CAC and further enhance trust among all the stakeholders.

#OsunMSMEClininc: Osinbajo, Aregbesola Reassure Commitment To Human, Capital Developments…As FG Set To Empowers 20,000 People In Osun

‎The Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to eradicating poverty, hunger, unemployment and other related vices in the country.

The Vice President while launching the Nationwide Small and Medium Enterprise Clinic (MSME) and the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP) in Osogbo stated that‎ 20,000 people would benefit from the initiative in Osun.
‎‎
The MSME is a Federal Government’s Empowerment Initiative under the office of the Vice President initiated to support Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.

Osinbajo stated that the scheme was initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari in a bid to support small businesses and enterprises by providing the people soft interest free loans to run their businesses.

He said the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari having seen the SME as the powerful economic drive decided to take the bull by the horn to empower the sector as part of efforts to stimulate and re-energize the economy.

Osinbajo expressed confidence in the administration of President Buhari, saying “I have confidence in the fact that our President will take Nigeria and Nigerians to greater heights.

According to him, we are here in Osun to launch another milestone achievement of the present administration in the country in fulfillment of our electoral’s promises to the people of Nigeria.

“The Nationwide Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) and Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP)‎ are enterprise intervention programmes of Mr. President to empower the small businesses in the country.

“This scheme was initiated to provide interest free loans to those who are into small businesses so as to empower them and as well stimulate our economy.

“To us, this scheme remains the engine of the economy and as a serious government, we have keyed into it to ensure that our people are empowered and taken out of the abject poverty and hunger.

“We have made arrangement to empower 50, 000 people ‎in Osun under this scheme so as to further strengthen the people’s commitment to businesses and as well encourage those who are into SME.

“We are bent on our commitment to continue to deliver on our electoral promises as our government is determined to judiciously utilize the nation’s ‎resources for the betterment of our people”, Osnbajo added.

While commending the people of Osun for being enterprising and productive, the Vice President  said, “I have seen in the people of this state the zeal to economic productivity and prosperity”.

“My visit to this state has made me to see how resourceful the people of this state are. I have seen that Osun is one of the engine of agro-allied economy in Nigeria as this could be easily identified in the zeal of our people to economic growth and development.‎

‎He lauded Governor Rauf Aregbesola for bringing to his people the much needed dividends of democracy through his numerous human and capital infrastructural developments.

“My visit has made me to see some of the good works of this administration particularly on roads, schools, security among others”, Osinbajo emphasized.

Speaking earlier, Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola charged whoever is ready to work and earn a living to key into the laudable programme.

He said the programme will empower about 20,000 beneficiaries in total starting with 10,000 beneficiaries who will get a none interest loan of at least 50,000 each.

According to Aregbesola, “for those of us who are ready to work and earn money, this is an opportunity for you. I advise you to key into the this programme and do something good for yourself.

“We are happy about this because it will go a long way in alleviating the sufferings of people and assist in our efforts to banish hunger and poverty.

Osinbajo Speaks On Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration, Says ‘Incredible Things’ Happened

The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Monday, said the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan performed incredible things while in office.

Speaking at the legislative economic summit themed “Legislative Framework for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development” in Abuja, Osinbajo said what happened at the tail end of Jonathan’s administration was the cause of present economic crisis facing the country.

“He said under the administration of Jonathan, Nigeria witnessed barefaced stealing and waste of resources unprecedented anywhere in the world; the situation, he alleged, caused the recent economic recession”

“He said between 2013 and 2015 with oil prices averaging up to $110 per barrel, sometimes going to as high as $150, the government of the day somehow contrived to increase national debt from N7.9 trillion to N12.1 trillion; while reducing external reserves from $45 billion to $28 billion as of May 2015.”

According to Osinbajo, under Jonathan’s watch, there was also inflation of contracts and other procurements which, he noted, always made the cost of infrastructure necessary for development unaffordable.

He added, “Of course, we all know that there was very little by the way of investment in infrastructure and capital projects. In fact, in 2015, capital spending was less than 11%. So there was very little to show for where this money went.

“I don’t want to keep repeating some of the incredible things that happened, a few weeks before the last elections; how large sums of money, a 100billion in cash ostensibly for security. Another $289million in cash was paid out in the same period.

“No country can survive that kind of unbridled waste and corruption. We must never forget that corruption is perhaps, the most outrageous cause of our economic decline.

“Aside from barefaced stealing or waste of resources, the inflation of contracts and other procurements ensures that the cost of infrastructure necessary for development will always be unaffordable.

“So if what we should spend on building a 200km road ends up being spent on a 20 km road, there is no way we are going to make any progress and there is no way we won’t end up in some kind of economic decline or the other,” Osinbajo stated.

“In 2015, oil prices fell to as low as $28 at some point. But worse still, throughout 2016 we lost almost a million barrels a day in oil production due to vandalization and sabotage of oil facilities and pipelines. We lost something in the order of about 60% of our revenues. Yet we could have survived without going into a recession, I think Dr. Teriba so ably stated that we could have survived if we had savings. But we had no savings only debt.

“As economists would say, as Dr. Teriba had said, we did not have the fiscal buffers to enable a counter-cyclical approach. In other words, we lacked the savings to see us through the lean times. Why? Why did we lack savings, when so much money was being made? This is the elephant in the room.

“Today, we can say that despite the 60% or even more reduction in revenues from oil, we are bailing out the States and our capital spending in 2016 were close to N1.3trillion, the highest yet in the country’s history. So with more prudent management, it is possible to do more with far less money.”

Financial Inclusion Is Key In Economic Recovery Plan – Osinbanjo

The Vice President of the federation Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesdays in Abuja said that the country needs to ensure financial inclusiveness for all towards the revamps of the nation’s economy.

Osinbanjo stated this while hosting Queen Maxima of Netherlands who is also the UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for inclusive finance for development.

According to Osinbajo, financial inclusiveness is important for the development of the individual, community, and country.

“Of cause financial inclusion is absolutely important for us to an economy.

“We need to be able to ensure that all of our people, wherever they live, no matter how far away they are can be reached with financial products; have bank accounts.

“Payments can be made to them and they also can make payments; in other words, they can participate in the entire financial architecture that the country offers and even that the international community offers.

“And that really is important for development, for their development as individuals and as communities.’’

The Vice President acknowledged the Queen’s second visit to the country to find out how far the country had gone with its financial inclusion plans and projects.

Responding, Queen Maxima said that “Nigeria is a country of enormous potential where financial inclusion should be playing a great role for your development.’’

The Queen stated that having access to savings, insurance payment credit could make the people move out of poverty and invest in small businesses, create income, employ people and save for the rainy day.

“Financial inclusiveness is a key element to support the economic growth recovery plan being championed by you.

“Since 2008 Nigeria has actually made progress growing from 23 per cent to 48 per cent of financial inclusion.

“But still more than half of Nigerians have to deal without very basic financial services that you and I rely on every day.

“And in the last couple of years progress has been stalled and there is a moment to renew this commitment and leadership on financial inclusion,’’ she added.

The Queen urged Nigeria to maximize the use of mobile money and make it sustainable, responsive and safe for all Nigerians.

According to her, the country has much potential in that respect while many countries have already achieved it.

She said only two per cent of Nigerians could use mobile money in contrast to 70 per cent in Ghana and higher numbers in other parts of the world.

She stressed the need for strong ICT systems and assured that the UN would assist the country build a strong financial inclusive system.

CAN To Osinbajo: ‘Stop Saying Buhari’s Govt. Has No Islamic Agenda’

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has warned Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to stop discrediting the organisation in his “avowed resolve to douse religious tension in Nigeria and win the heart of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari”.

The Vice-President last week said there was no agenda to Islamise Nigeria and that no one could possibly do so.

He also berated Christian leaders for raising alarm on the issue.

Reacting, President of CAN, Rev Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, urged Osinbajo to cross check his facts well before making public remarks on the matter next time.

In a statement on Wednesday signed by his spokesman, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Ayokunle noted that most Christian leaders in Nigeria were taken aback by the remarks credited to Osinbajo and had sought the intervention of the leadership of CAN to set the record straight with documented facts pointing towards the verity of plot by the present government to Islamise Nigeria.

The CAN President said Osinbajo was indeed, oblivious of certain happenings, stressing that the body of Christians in Nigeria have long been aware of the grand plot to Islamise Africa, with Nigeria as a major focus.

He insisted that the Nigerian government has been working in tandem with the Organisation Of Islamic Countries (OIC) and Islam In Africa Organisation to achieve this.

He said, “The OIC met in London in 1983 with a follow up meeting in Nigeria in 1989 and had issued a communiqué to Islamize Africa with Nigeria capturing a great attention. This is a public knowledge while facts could be obtained from Wikipedia with links on OIC’s Conference in London, 1983 and Abuja Declaration of 1989.

“It is also a matter of fact that Nigeria was later made an observer member of the body (OIC) through General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Under General Sani Abacha, another Muslim leader, Nigeria was made full member in total violation of the constitution that the nation is secular and our government should not be religiously partisan.

“From then on, conscious efforts were on to draw Nigeria into joining different Islamic organizations in keeping with the resolutions of OIC & Islam in Africa Organization (IAO). (See their communiqué tagged ‘Abuja Declaration of 1989).”

Ayokunle said that CAN has not been opposing, and will not oppose Islamic evangelism in any part of Nigeria, even if done with the support of the government since Christians also evangelise, but that the Christian body will never support any government to make Islam a State religion under any guise.

“We are not opposed to Islamic evangelism by any Muslim group if done with a peaceful motive. The Christians also exercise their constitutional rights to do so through revivals and gospel rallies. But we are opposed to the government of Nigeria adopting Islamic resolutions aimed towards a compelling of this country, contrary to the dictates of the constitution”

CAN, however, advised Osinbajo to use his office to correct the imbalance in the Nigerian system and other alleged unconstitutional actions noted with the government in order to reduce tension in the polity.

“Our worry as a body is that Nigeria started getting active in international Islamic alliances and organizations in total violation of the constitution. But the Vice President seems not conscious of this and the motive behind adoption of the Sukkuk Bond.

“Then we ask, Is Sukkuk constitutional? Is Sukkuk not part of the resolutions of OIC & IAO Is it not part of Nigeria’s adoption of Islamic sharia and financial system that it is mandatory for all governments in Africa subscribing to Islam?

“We also ask why the present government joined Islamic Military Alliance against terrorism. Are we an Islamic nation to so do? Can’t Nigeria fight terrorism without joining Islamic coalition? Why would the government continue to consciously heat up the polity?” the body quipped.

“Nigeria Has So Much To Praise God For” – Osinbajo

Nigeria’s Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo has emphasized the need for the citizens to constantly praise God as they had so much to praise Him for.

He said it in an interview on the sideline of a 400-hour non-stop praise and worship organized by Halleluyah Nigeria in conjunction with other churches to usher in Nigeria’s 57th Independence anniversary.

“As you know, scripture says that God inhabits the praises of His people and our belief is that praising God attracts God’s attention and He comes into our praying.

“What is more anyway is that we have so much to praise God for. We have so much to thank Him for, and all of what we want to thank Him for all of those various things we can’t even do it in 400 hours.

“So this continuous praise is a sacrifice of praise, that is why it is longer than usual; so we are offering a sacrifice of praise,’’ the Vice President said.

Osinbajo observed that the event was a combination of things as could be seen to be “very exciting’’.

He acknowledged that he had the time to praise in spite of his schedule of work “because all things are, everything depends on the One who created us.

“So if you can’t set outside time for the one who created you what do you have time for.’’

Speaking on the significance of the event, Pastor Oluseyin Malomo, the Chaplain of the Aso Villa Chapel, said the programme was an acknowledgement of the goodness of God for Nigeria.

He also said it was to thank God for the life of Nigeria for celebrating 57 years, still being together in spite of the challenges.

The cleric added that it was also to thank God for bringing the country out of recession and most importantly to rejoice with all Nigerians that He brought back our President safely.

“We believe God that as we praise Him, He will make him (Buhari) stronger and healthier so that this nation will really feel the blessing why God brought him.

“We all know that our nation has quite a number of challenges.

“That is why we are praising God that as our leaders are trying and doing their best God will give them the divine grace to help them and for the citizens to overcome these challenges,’’ he stated..

Malomo recalled the Bible verse which says except the Lord builds they labour in vain that build.

He added that the ministers were there to ensure that “our leaders will not labour in vain, that the reason that God brought them is felt by Nigerians, bringing joy and smile’’.

According to him, any time a nation praises God, God helps them in their battles, God brings cohesion, unity, prosperity and productivity.

“We have seen it before in the life of Jehoshaphat, in the life of David and we believe that He will do it for us in Nigeria so that we become the toast of the world as a nation that loves God.

He said that the praise was showing the world that in unity and diversity we can be together and forge ahead.

“This intends to be a world record-breaking event, it is going to go on for 400 hours of non-stop musical activity.

“From the monitor we are on 131 hours. God has helped us to reach the 131 hour and He will help us to attain the remaining 269 hours.

“We did last year 365 hours but we feel that since God is good to Nigeria let us add some on top,’’ he noted.

Malomo explained that all the Christian churches supported the programme while about 180 Churches were participating.

Also, the Administrator of the Aso Villa Chapel, Rev. Isaac Ambi, said the programme was needed in the country

“I believe that praise usually brings down the glory of God.

“So, as we sing these praises unto the Lord in this great nation I believe strongly that so many wonderful things will happen in this country,’’ Ambi declared.

Full List of Newly Appointed Federal Permanent Secretaries

The Acting President, Yemi Osibanjo, has approved the appointment of new Permanent Secretaries in the Federal Civil Service.

This was contained in a release signed by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita.

The new appointees were selected after a rigorous interview process.

The statement further said that their portfolios will be announced in due course.

The list of the successful Federal Permanent Secretaries and their states of origin are as follows:

S/N PERMANENT SECRETARY STATE OF ORIGIN

1. EHURIA GEORGINA EKEOMA – ABIA
2. AKPAN EDET SUNDAY – AKWA IBOM
3. ANAGBOGU IFEOMA NKIRUKA – ANAMBRA
4. WALSON-JACK DIIARAU DIDI ESTHER – BAYELSA
5. GEKPE GRACE ISU – CROSS RIVER
6. ALIBOH LEON LAWRENCE – DELTA
7. UWAIFO OSARENOMA CLEMENT – EDO
8. FOLAYAN AYODELE OLANIYI – EKITI
9. OSUJI NDUBISI MARCELLINUS – IMO
10. MU’AZU ABDULKADIR -KADUNA
11. SULAIMAN MUSTAPHA LAWAL – KANO
12. ABDULLAHI ABDULAZEEZ MASHI – KATSINA
13. ADEBIYI BOLAJI ADEKUNLE – LAGOS
14. IBRAHIM MUSA WEN – NASARAWA
15. ODEWALE SAMSON OLAJIDE – OGUN
16. ADESOLA OLUSADE – ONDO
17. ADEKUNLE OLUSEGUN ADEYEMI – OYO
18. NABASU BITRUS BAKO – PLATEAU
19. EKARO COMFORT CHUKUMUEBOBO – RIVERS
20. UMAR MOHAMMED BELLO – SOKOTO
21. ADUDA GABRIEL TANIMU – FCT

Osinbajo Seeks N’Assembly’s Approval For Additional $1.28bn External Borrowing

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has written to the National Assembly requesting for the legislature’s approval to accommodate funding for both the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) and the second tranche of the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN-II) in the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan of the federal government.

Although Osinbajo’s letter was not read out on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, in the correspondence read at plenary by the Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the acting president noted that the DBN is a multi-donor supported bank approved by the previous administration, with financing agreements executed on February 25, 2015.

He, however, explained that the sum of $1.28 billion earmarked for the development finance institution was inadvertently omitted in the 2014 to 2016 External Borrowing Plan, which was approved by the National Assembly.

He said the DBN is currently being supported by the World Bank Group, African Development Bank, KfW Development of Germany and French Development Agency, in the sums of $500 million, $450 million, $200 million and $130 million, respectively.

Similarly, he said FAFIN-II is supported by KfW Development of Germany, in the sum of €9 million.
FAFIN is an investment facility in agricultural financing with a commitment of €10.5 million earmarked under its first phase.

In the letter, the acting president said the initial phase of the project had been fully disbursed, while the donor was ready to provide another tranche of €9 million for FAFIN-II.
The second tranche was, however, the consolidation of the gains in the investment of the initial tranche, he told the lower chamber.

He said it had become imperative to seek the House’s usual understanding and consideration for the inclusion of the DBN and FAFIN-II into the 2016-2018 external borrowing plan, as addendum, in view of the importance attached to both projects by the current administration.

After reading the letter dated May 16, Dogara referred the request to the House Committee on Aids and Loans for further deliberations.

Source: This Day

Osinbajo Requested To Check Wasteful Spending By Lawmakers

In an open letter to the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has been told by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to use his good offices and leadership position to cut wasteful spending by the National Assembly.

Specifically, SERAP wants Osinbajo “to put pressure on the leadership of the National Assembly to cut the proposed apparently wasteful and unnecessary spending on the number of expensive official vehicles, legislative aides, travels and transportation, souvenirs, and photocopiers.”

The organization urged Osinbajo to “assent to the budget only if it truly reflects national development priorities, and not serve as a tool to satisfy the lifestyle of our lawmakers. To allow public funds to be spent as proposed by the National Assembly would disproportionately affect the socially and economically vulnerable and push them deeper into poverty and deprivation.”

In the letter dated 15 May 2017 and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni the organization said that, “In a country where many of our general hospitals cannot provide emergency treatment, and at a time public funds are needed to improve these facilities, it is retrogressive to spend these funds to provide exotic cars for our lawmakers or fund needless travels. Such funds ought to be meaningfully spent to provide clean water, build classrooms, provide materials, train teachers and pay outstanding workers’ salaries.”

“In a country where many of our general hospitals cannot provide emergency treatment, and at a time public funds are needed to improve these facilities, it is retrogressive to spend these funds to provide exotic cars for our lawmakers or fund needless travels. Such funds ought to be meaningfully spent to provide clean water, build classrooms, provide materials, train teachers and pay outstanding workers’ salaries.”

“The more public funds that are spent to buy expensive vehicles for our lawmakers rather than servicing the new vehicles bought last year the less resources that will be available to make sure that Nigerians enjoy the right to an adequate standard of living and the rights to health, housing, food and education.”

“When read together, the obligations under the Covenant to take steps to achieve economic and social rights progressively according to the country’s national resources implicitly forbid spending on such apparently wasteful projects. We are concerned that of the N125 billion proposed by the National Assembly in the 2017 budget, N6.4bn is to purchase official vehicles; N1.6bn to insure the vehicles; N777m to buy photocopiers; N55.623m to buy souvenirs; N807m to fuel generators; N11bn for travels and transportation; N9bn to pay legislative aides, and N750m for medical supplies.”

“SERAP believes that the presidency now has the chance to show that the 2017 budget would not prioritise wasteful spending by the National Assembly over and above urgent national development priorities, and the need to improve Nigerians’ access to basic necessities such as interrupted electricity supply, quality education, affordable healthcare, clean water, good roads, as well as pay outstanding workers’ salaries across the country.”

“SERAP urges you and the presidency to require the National Assembly to justify the wave of fresh spending on several of the items purchased last year, and many of which will presumably remain in good condition.”

“SERAP also urges you to persuade the leadership of the National Assembly to henceforth adopt and use human rights budgeting as a tool of tracking Nigeria’s accountability toward economic, social and cultural rights. SERAP believes that a budget is a fundamental government tool for national development priorities and should not be a shopping list to satisfy the taste of high-ranking public officials and parliamentarians.”

“SERAP believes that the proposed spending of public funds by the National Assembly suggests that the leadership does not conceive of national budget as a blueprint for social and economic policy priorities.”

“SERAP believes that by cutting the proposed spending by the National Assembly, the presidency would be working to address and mitigate the negative effects of economic recession and crisis in the country on Nigerians living in poverty in particular and the socially and economically vulnerable in general.”

“SERAP notes that Nigeria is a state party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Covenant guarantees to all Nigerians legally enforceable economic, social and cultural rights such as the rights to food, health, and education. The enjoyment of these rights requires a major commitment of resources from key branches of government particularly the executive and legislature for example through the instrumentality of the budget.”

“When interpreted as prescribed by Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the Covenant will impose clear duties on your government to make national budgets comply with realizing these economic, social and cultural rights. Therefore, international human rights law requires the government to use the country’s economic resources to fulfil economic, social and cultural rights. Clearly, economic resources of Nigeria are managed by fiscal policies, thus providing direct link with national budget.”

“The lack of enjoyment of these human rights would increase poverty and hunger, which in turn would threaten the right to life and health of many socially and economically vulnerable, including women and children. These groups of people are bearing the brunt and feeling the impacts of the economic crisis on their standards of living, their jobs and their homes.”