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Get Involved in Politics, Osinbajo Charges Nigerian Youths

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has urged young Nigerians to get involved in politics.

He said this was necessary because transforming a society depended largely on those who occupied public offices.

His spokesman, Laolu Akande, said the vice-president made the submissions at a virtual session where he interacted with Nigerian fellows of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

The interaction included a question-and-answer session where Osinbajo was engaged on issues ranging from education to health and to youth inclusiveness.

“You need to go the extra length if you are not already involved; get involved in politics.

While a lot can be achieved in civil society, government still holds the ace in terms of capacity and resources to bring social goods to the largest numbers.

“Being deciders rather than being a pressure group in policy formulation are hugely different positions.

“The consummation of our great ideas to transform our societies ultimately will depend on those politicians as we sometimes derisively describe them,’’ Akande quoted Osinbajo to have said.

Osinbajo also told the session that African nations and especially Nigeria, could not afford to have their best minds and most committed social activists remain only in the civil society space.

“We simply can’t afford it; you have to get involved in politics.

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“You have to be in the position to make the difference on the scale that is required.

“There are many who will not be involved in politics, but those that are inclined should, and there will be many challenges even in the winning or getting heard in politics.

“I want to say to you that it should be an objective that you should set for yourselves, to get involved at whatever level of politics so that you can make the difference on the scale that is required,’’ Osinbajo also said.

The vice-president described the efforts of young African innovators as Africa’s most exciting story – the story of a present and future that could be steered by the continent’s incredibly talented and optimistic young men and women.

He commended the innovation and creativity of the fellows.

“Within any generation, only a few wholeheartedly take on that challenge – the challenge of building a society.

“Most believe that the task is for someone else and that such endeavours cannot pay the bills,’’ he noted.

Osinbajo recalled his days in civil society engagements and later in politics as Lagos State Attorney-General.

He said it took public office for him to be able to get the scale of change that was required to make a difference.

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“Without public office, I would have remained a pressure group activist; I would have done some nice things; but I wouldn’t have been able to make the changes that my country required.

“I was once where you are; I was part of several civil society groups at the time.

“I joined the first civil society group when I was 24; I was teaching at the time.

“I also co-founded the anti-corruption group, Integrity, and then Convention on Business Integrity, which still exist today and they function out of Abuja and Lagos.

“I was chair of the Legal Research and Development Centre, where we worked on civil rights issues and legal defence for the poor.

“We did a couple of legal defence initiatives; we got funding from donors and tried to do the best we could,’’ he stressed.

Responding to concerns about the International English Language Testing System, Osinbajo said relevant government ministries and agencies would work on making things easier for Nigerians.

He said that as English-speaking people, Nigerians should get some concessions as opposed to being compelled to write the same test every two years, especially for those that had passed it previously.

The Fellowship is the flagship programme of the U.S. government’s Young African Leaders Initiative.

Since 2014, nearly 5,100 young leaders from every country in Sub-Sahara Africa have participated in the Fellowship.

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The U.S.A ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard and the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Mrs Maryam Uwais, also participated in the session. (NAN)

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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