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Ortom, Achado Laud Senate over Position on Arbitrary Dissolution of Local Councils

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

The immediate past governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has applauded the Senate for its resolution on Friday, which condemned the arbitrary dissolution of democratically elected local councils in the federation.

Ortom described the intervention of the Senate as a significant move which reflects a commitment to upholding democratic principles and ensuring the autonomy of local government administration across the country.

According to him, the unanimous resolution by the upper chamber of the National Assembly also represents a crucial step in safeguarding the democratic process at the grassroots level.

According to him, the Senate’s decision is a proactive measure, which also has the potency to deter any act that undermines the democratic rights of citizens and the principles of good governance.

Ortom in a statement signed by his Media Aide, Terver Akase and made available to newsmen in Makurdi said calling for the withholding of statutory allocations to non-democratically elected local councils in Nigeria was in order.

He maintained that the Senate has demonstrated a firm stance against dictatorial tendencies.

The former governor commended Senator Abba Moro for his proactive motion, which drew urgent attention to the issue of the unconstitutionally sacked local councils in Benue State.

Similarly, a member of the House of Representatives for Gwer/Gwer East Federal Constituency, Asema Achado advised Governor Hycinth Alia of Benue State to always consult stakeholders, especially the political class before taking a decisions for the ttate.

Achado in a letter he personally signed entitled, “My Humble Advice to My Dear Governor, Hyacinth Alia” stated that as the Governor of Benue State carried a significant responsibility of shaping the future of Benue State and its people.

“It is in this spirit that I am reaching out to offer some useful advice and suggestions that I believe will help you in carrying out your duties effectively and in the best interest of the people of Benue State.

“First and foremost, it is crucial for you to always consult with relevant stakeholders, including party leadership at all levels when making decisions that impact the State,” he said.

He posited that consultation is the cornerstone of effective leadership, and by seeking input from a wide range of voices, the governor can be sure that his decisions are well-informed and have the support of the people they affect.

“This will also help in promoting transparency and inclusivity in governance, which are essential ingredients for building trust and cooperation among all stakeholders.

“His Excellency is no doubt aware that delivering on commitments and demonstrating integrity in dealings with political leaders can build the quantum of trust and goodwill that are expected for effective governance. Note also that honesty, fairness, and professionalism are key traits that can positively impact relationships with political leaders,” he added.

According to Achado, working collaboratively with political leaders to achieve common goals can help in maintaining support and cooperation and a shared vision for the future of the State as well as unite political leaders and pave the way for the development of our dear state.

While urging Governor Alia to be more accessible to the electorate, Achado contended that the ability to engage with the citizens and listen to their concerns is a fundamental aspect of effective governance and encouraged him to create opportunities for open dialogue with the people of Benue State, whether through town hall meetings, public fora or other accessible platforms.

The lawmaker insisted that by being present and attentive to the needs of the people, the governor can demonstrate his commitment to serving their interests and promoting their well-being.

He said, “I have also heard reports regarding your long hours of prayer sessions during the day, which have resulted in delayed or cancelled official engagements. While I understand and appreciate the importance of spiritual devotion, it is equally important to ensure that your duties as governor are carried out effectively and efficiently.

“I would advise you to consider shifting your well-intended long hours of prayer sessions to the night, allowing you to free up your daytime hours for official duties and engagements. This will help in ensuring that your responsibilities as Governor are given the attention they deserve, while also honouring your well-intended personal beliefs and practices.

“Additionally, it has come to my attention that some senior government officials, bishops, and other senior citizens have had to wait for extended periods, sometimes over 10 hours, to see you for scheduled appointments. This kind of prolonged waiting time can disrupt the schedules of these individuals and may convey a negative perception that you lack consideration for their time,” he said.

“You have to review your scheduling practices and make adjustments to ensure that appointments are honoured in a timely manner so as such will not only demonstrate respect for the time of others but also showcase commitment to efficient and professional governance.

“There is need to reconsider the dissolution of elected local government councils in the state, saying listening to the voice of reason is a crucial aspect of leadership, and it is important to carefully consider the potential impact of such decisions on the functioning of local governance and the well-being of the communities affected”.

“Your commitment to the well-being of the people and the development of the State is commendable, and by implementing these additional suggestions, I believe you can further enhance your effectiveness as a leader with great reckoning.”

POLITICS

Reps Set up 23-Member Ad-hoc C’ttee on Oronsaye’s Report Implementation

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By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja

The House of Representatives on Thursday, set up a 23-man Ad-hoc Committee to look into the Steve Oronsaye’s Report on the restructuring of Federal Government Ministries, Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies.

This was just as it emphasized the need for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to thoroughly review the Report on the proposed restructuring.

Recall that President Tinubu last week approved the full implementation of the White Paper on Steve Oronsanye’s report, which recommended the scrapping and merging of 220 out of the 541 MDAs.

Hon. Abbas, who announced the Ad-hoc Committee to be chaired by Majority Leader, Hon. Julius Ihonbvere, explained that the Ad-hoc Committee will recommend the appropriate measures to mitigate the likely fallout of the review process of Steve Oronsanye’s report on

In a related development, the House, which suffered with the process adopted by Mr.

President, called for a comprehensive review of the 2012 Orosanye Report, the Goni Aji Report, which reviewed the Orosanye Report, the White Paper released by the President Jonathan administration, the Ama Pepple White Paper, and the Ebele Okeke White Paper in line with current realities, while considering implementable alternatives that are in tune with current realities and which at the same time would have minimum unintended consequences, impacts, implications, and outcomes.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance jointly sponsored by Hon. Kama Nkemkanma, Hon. Olumide Osoba and Hon. Gaza Gbwefi

In his lead debate, Hon. Nkemkanma observed that “in 2012, the President Goodluck Jonathan administration set up the Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies, headed by Stephen Oronsaye, a retired federal civil servant and former Head of Service of the Federation.

“The House is aware that the Oronsaye Committee, after their painstaking assignment, recommended the scrapping and merging of 220 out of the then existing 541 government agencies.

“The House is also aware that the Committee’s 800-page report noted that the government’s parastatals and agencies’ functions are overlapping and therefore recommended the reduction of statutory agencies from 263 to 161, the abolition of 38 agencies, the merger of 52 and the reversion of 14 to departments in ministries, and the management audit of 89 agencies capturing biometric features of staff, as well as the discontinuation of government funding of professional bodies and councils.

“The House is again aware that the Oronsaye Report said then that if the committee’s recommendation was implemented, the government would be saving over N862 billion between 2012 and 2015, with a breakdown that showed that about N124.8 billion would be reduced from agencies proposed for abolition; about N100.6 billion from agencies proposed for mergers; about N6.6 billion from professional bodies; N489.9 billion from universities; N50.9 billion from polytechnics; N32.3 billion from colleges of education; and N616 million from boards of federal medical centres.

“The House is further aware that after the committee’s report, the White Paper committee set up by Jonathan’s administration rejected most of the recommendations, while those accepted were not implemented.

“The House notes that in November 2021, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration inaugurated two committees; one of the committees, chaired by Goni Aji, a retired Head of Civil Service of the Federation, was to review the Orosanye report, and the second committee, chaired by Ama Pepple, also a retired Head of Civil Service of the Federation, was constituted to review agencies created between 2014 and 2021.

“The House also notes that upon submission of their reports, the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government in July 2022 set up another committee chaired by Ebele Okeke, a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, to produce a white paper on the reports.

“The House is worried that the full implementation of a report 12 years after it was first made, which ordinarily may be described as outdated, especially because of how dynamic society, economy, politics, technology, and all facets of our national life have been,.

“The House is concerned that, contrary to the assumption that the full implementation of the report would reduce the cost of governance, with the current realities, the full implementation of the report will not substantially reduce the cost of governance as it does not reflect the current situation in the Public Service of the Federation.

“The House is deeply worried that the full implementation of the 2012 Oronsaye report in 2024 will certainly have unintended consequences, implications, and outcomes. It is committed to supporting all positive actions and policies of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration that have minimum unintended consequences, impacts, implications, and outcomes.

“The House is cognizant of the primary purpose of government being the security and welfare of the citizens as enshrined in Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended),” he noted.

The lawmakers also urged the Federal Government to develop and implement policies that will reposition the agricultural sector, the solid mineral sector, and the informal sector, which will serve as alternatives to those that may be laid off consequently while at the same time spurring economic growth.

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POLITICS

Senate Urges PSC to Recruit 10 Candidates Each from 774 LGAs

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The Senate has urged the Police Service Commission(PSC) to recruit a minimum of 10 candidates from each of the 774 Local Government Areas(LGAs) of the country.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Sen. Udende Memga (APC- Benue) at plenary on Thursday.

Presenting the motion, Memga said that the Buhari administration had ordered the recruitment of 10, 000 constables annually as part of measures to address the nation’s security challenges.

He said that President Bola Tinubu was keen in implementing the policy, saying however, that the recruitment should be conducted based on the strength of each LGA especially in the area of community policing.

“The use of LGA parameters in the recruitment exercise is to reflect the principles of the federal character.

“It is also meant to promote inclusion, representation and give a sense of belonging and balance in the polity, section 14 (3) of the 1999 constitution as amended, captured the federal character,’’ he said.

He said that the parameter would promote national unity and command national loyalty as well as eliminate marginalisation of any state, ethnic or any group in government or its agency.

Memga said that the use of state parameters in the recruitment as against LGAs initially adopted, would lead to inequality.

“It is extremely important to always reflect a fair representation of all local government areas in the recruitments,’’ he said.

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POLITICS

Why I Object to State Police – Senator Udende

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

The Senator representing Benue North East at the National Assembly, Senator Udende Memsa Emmanuel has explained that the crazy mentality of some Nigerian politicians, especially the Governors remained the reason he is opposed to the creation of state police.

Speaking with newsmen in his office at the National Assembly yesterday, Senator Udende who was the Deputy House Committee Chairman on Police Affairs during the previous dispensation pointed out that the mentality of most political elites in Nigeria was low, so if they had state police they would use it to harass and intimidate political opponents.

The Senator, a lawyer by profession however said that community policing, where youths from various communities get the opportunity in equal measures to join the federal police and be posted in their respective localities remained the best policing option for Nigeria at the moment.

Recall that senator Udende had earlier in the day moved a motion seeking the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force to adhere to the Federal Character Principle in the recruitment of Constables into the Nigeria Police Force, stressing that both entities should ensure the recruitment of at least 10 personnel from each of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.

He said such a measure would entrench unity, harmony and the spirit of community policing rather than bickering and suspicion which had become the order of the day after each police recruitment exercise across the country.

He noted that the underlying philosophy of the federal character principle was to provide equality of access in public service representation to curb dominance by one or few sections of the country either in the federal, state or local government, saying otherwise it would create lopsidedness.

“I will, in the interim, oppose the creation of State Police. As you know, most of our political leaders, especially those Governors are crazy, they have mad attitudes to issues and low comprehension ability to the principles of fair play. They will abuse the good intentions of the spirit of State Police, use it to harass and intimidate not just their political opponents but anyone who goes against their thoughts and aspirations.

“In place of State Police, I’m for Community policing under the supervision and control of the federal government. This is the best approach for now in my opinion. To this effect, I moved a motion on the floor of the Senate earlier urging the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force to recruit at least 10 persons from each local government area in Nigeria in the spirit of the federal character principle. Such personnel could be posted within the local government areas and that’s community policing pure and clear. If they do that for 10 years, would we still be talking about State Police?, he queried.

However, his motion was supported by the Senate Minority leader, Abba Moro of Benue South senatorial district, senator Titus Zam of Benue North West and senator Bassey Ekong of Cross River North, making the deputy senate president, Jibrin Barau who presided over the plenary yesterday adopt the motion and consequently directing the Committee on Police Affairs and legislative compliance to ensure compliance as well as directing the police authorities to recruit at least 10 persons each across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria.

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