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Buhari’s Administration Driving Unparalleled Oil, Gas Sector Reform – Group

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) Legacy Awareness and Campaign Group says the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is driving unparalleled reforms in the country’s oil and gas sector.

The group, which is a voluntary think-tank of the APC, said this in a statement jointly signed by Mr Ismail Ahmed and Mr Tolu Ogunlesi, its Co-ordinators, on Tuesday in Abuja.It noted that Buhari as the pioneer chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) between 1977 and 1978, recorded great and enduring achievements.It recalled that combining his position as NNPC chairman with his role as Federal Commissioner of Petroleum and Natural Resources was one of the first public offices he held that brought him to national attention.
“During that period, he laid substantial groundwork for the national infrastructure that helped develop the industry: pipelines, refineries and depots, among others, and helped midwife the vision for a Liquefied Natural Gas plant.“Forty years later, the task has fallen upon him again to spearhead unparalleled reforms in the corporation he helped established, ” the group said.It added that under Buhari’s watch, since 2015, the National Oil Company had achieved a lot, including publishing audited financial statements for 2018, 2019 and 2020.According to the group, this is the first published audited financial statements since the NNPC came into existence 43 years ago.It said the Buhari administration also commenced clearing the backlog of cash call arrears owed International Oil Companies (IOCs), inherited from previous administrations amounting to more than five billion dollars.“The administration completed the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) Phase 2, doubling its capacity to 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas and commenced construction of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas pipeline, Nigeria’s biggest-ever domestic gas pipeline project.“It also commenced the total revamp of the Port Harcourt refinery, which is another industry jinx being broken.“The administration resolved a 12-year-old dispute surrounding Oil Mining Licence (OML) 118, unlocking more than $10 billion of potential investment held up by the dispute,” it said.According to the group, the crowning achievement of the administration in the sector has been the presidential assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), after two decades of unsuccessful attempts.It added that with the emergence of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), a new chapter definitely commenced in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.The group further said the new industry regulatory agencies had been established, to provide the necessary oversight befitting the new status quo.“And the President has received National Assembly approval for his nominees to the management teams of these new agencies. It is truly a new dawn for oil and gas sector in Nigeria.“The president’s promise to bring long overdue efficiency and transparency to the management of Nigeria’s oil and gas resources is being backed by action.“And the journey has only just started, President Buhari will not slow down or relent in his NNPC reform efforts.“One of the many transformational legacies that will be associated with his administration will be the rebirth of the National Oil Company, and a repositioning that will set it on the path to becoming a world-class institution,” the group stated. (NAN)

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POLITICS

Tinubu Visited me to Seek Support for Presidential Ambition – Yakasai

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A founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum and elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has revealed that he would support the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s presidential bid in 2023.

Tinubu had on Wednesday visited the elder statesman at his Abuja residence.

A founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum and elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has revealed that he would support the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s presidential bid in 2023.

Tinubu had on Wednesday visited the elder statesman at his Abuja residence.

Though Tinubu has yet to declare his intention to contest any office in 2023, there have been reports and veiled indications that he might be interested in the exalted seat.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had in October inaugurated the South-West Agenda 2023, a political movement mobilising support for Tinubu to contest the 2023 presidential election.

Tinubu, who celebrated his 69th birthday in March 2021 and commands an arguably large following of political loyalists, has been reported to nurse presidential ambition in 2023, even as political debates get intense for a southern president after the eight-year regime of the incumbent, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who is from Katsina State, North-West Nigeria.

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Between July and October 2021, while Tinubu was in the United Kingdom for a knee surgery and physiotherapy, over 50 politicians, including the President, six governors, dozens of senators and House of Representatives members, visited him at his London home and turned the place to a Mecca of sort.

In October, the Northern Caucus of House of Representatives, led by Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, had also paid a get-well visit to the APC leader in London and declared support for Tinubu’s reported 2023 presidential ambition.

Friday, 96-year-old Yakasai said he had earmarked two politicians to support for Presidency in 2023.

He, however, said he has no intention to join politics but he has the constitutional right to back any candidate of his choice.

Asked whether he planned to join the ruling party after Tinubu’s visit, Yakassai said, “I don’t want to join any (political) party but I can support a candidate of my choice. I have said it way back in 1951 that I will not be a party member but I will support a candidate of my choice.”

On the APC leader’s visit, the elder statesman said, “He (Tinubu) just came to visit me but actually I have two of them (presidential aspirants) that I have earmarked right from the beginning and I made a vow that any one of them who came to ask for my support first is the person I would support. Tinubu is the first person.”

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When asked whether Tinubu told him he would be contesting for President in 2021, Yakasai said, “He (Tinubu) did and he asked for my support.”

Yakasai, however, said he didn’t disclose to Tinubu, during the visit, that he would support his ambition.

He also said that interested aspirants must first scale the hurdles of primary elections in their various political parties “then we will begin to compare them.”Punch

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JUDICIARY

Court Restrains Osun Govt, Ruling Houses from Contesting Akinrun Stool

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An Osun State High Court sitting in Ikirun has granted an order of interim injunction restraining the Obaara and Adedeji ruling houses from contesting the vacant Akinrun stool.

Justice A.

A. G. Onibokun while granting the order also barred the Osun State government from accepting any nomination except the Gboleru ruling house.

There has been contestation between the Gboleru ruling house which was supposed to produce the next Akinrun and the Obaara and Adedeji ruling houses who also wanted to produce the next monarch.

Trouble started when the Gboleru ruling house which was supposed to produce the next Akinrun had a misunderstanding amongst qualified princes, and this led to an Osun State High Court in Ikirun presided over by Justice Jide Falola directing that the Obaara as the next ruling house in line to produce the next Akinrun.

Also, the Osun State Government through the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs had expressed its readiness to carry out the court order.

However, due to the judgment, members of the Gboleru ruling house on Sunday staged a town wide protest in Ikirun to press home their right to the throne in conformity with the Chieftaincy law.

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POLITICS

Ajaokuta Steel: Al-Makura Warns 2022 Budget will Frustrate Development Initiatives

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By Jude Opara, Abuja

The chairman Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines and Metallurgy, Tanko Al Makura, on Thursday raised the alarm that the 2022 budget will frustrate the development in Ajaokuta Steel plant and solid minerals development generally, because of its failure to allocate special funds to the sector.

 

Al Makura, said this while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after submitting the budget defence report of his committee to the Senate Appropriation Committee.

The immediate past governor of Nasarawa state regretted that the much desired growth in the steel industry sector may not be easily achievable without very special allocation to the ministry.

He further revealed that during the budget defence of the Ministry and agencies under his Committee, it was discovered that there were repetitions of most of the items provided in the 2021 Budget, saying the budgeting pattern has become like a stereotype.

The senator warned that if Nigeria truly wants economic development and diversification, especially in the solid minerals sector there must be some initiative in ensuring that the budget is pragmatic and realistic.

He said; “What we observed is that a lot of things that were provided for last year appeared to have come again this year. There appears to be some kind of stereotyping of the budget and if we really consider the need for economic growth and diversification which is very much sought for, there has to be some initiative in ensuring that the budget is a pragmatic budget.

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“The President considers solid minerals among the sectors that will drive the process of diversification, but given the paltry allocation to the ministry, such desired expectations may not be easily met”.

Al-Makura also lamented that for the past two years when the initiative was put forward to reactivate the Ajaokuta Steel Company, there has not been any meaningful allocation to the company.

Speaking earlier while declaring open the budget defence session, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the Senate, Barau Jubril, said a lot of money has been spent to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Company, yet it has remained in a state of decay.

He noted that the company has not been utilized to its installation capacity, saying the situation calls for the involvement of everybody to make sure the company is resuscitated, given its importance to the country.

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