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Senate President Inaugurates N11.65bn NASS Service Commission Office

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The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday, inaugurated construction of the permanent office building of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) worth N11.65 billion.

Performing the ceremony at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, Lawan said the foundation laying marked an end to a 20-year delay for the take-off of the structure since establishment of the the commission in 2000.

Lawan said that, “This is an important day for us and for our democracy. We all recall how this arm of government, the legislature, has been do disadvantaged because of its non-existence in the past.

He added that the project should have been in existence “not 20 years ago, it should have been in existence may be more than 60 years ago when Nigeria became independent. But better late than never.”

He said that the management of national assembly would continue to be committed to release funds for the completion of the permanent office of NASC.

“With the 24-month duration for the completion of the project, we will ensure we oversight because it is a critical project.”

Lawan also urged the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to expedite action on the processes of ensuring that the dilapidating parts of the national assembly were rehabilitated.

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Earlier, Chairman of the commission, Mr Ahmed Amshi, described the construction of the NASC permanent office building as a “historic” feat recorded under the ninth assembly.

According to him, the fifth assembly found it expedient to reengage Triad Associates Ltd. for the execution of the project given their professional competence to ensure continuity.

He added that at the point of conceiving the project in 2010, the construction cost was estimated at N2.5 billion.

Amshi, however, explained that due to inflationary trends and incorporation of modern materials and facilities, the project would cost N11.65 billion to be completed.

“The capital provision of National Assembly Service Commission in this year’s budget (2021) is N3 billion; even though this is not enough to pay the thirty percent mobilisation fees as required by law.

“The contractor was able to mobilise to site and acquired reasonable quantity of materials with what we are able to pay the firm,” the NASC chairman added.

On his part, Chairman House Committee on Public Service Matters, Rep. Sani Bala said, “we will ensure adequate funding, uninterrupted adequate funding for the project.

“We will release adequate funds in 2022 budget and that of 2023.

“The contractor had assured the national assembly management that they will complete the project as and when due which is within 24 months.

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“We want a situation whereby this project will be commissioned by the 9th National Assembly,” Bala said.(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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