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10th NASS ,Senate Presidency: APC Diaspora Rallies Support for Orji Uzor Kalu

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Ahead of the inauguration of Nigeria’s 10th National Assembly on June 13, 2023, and anticipated election of the Senate president, All Progressives Congress (APC), South Korea Chapter has appealed to senators-elect across political parties to prioritize equity, justice, inclusiveness, and fairness as guiding principle in the selection of its leadership.

The APC Diaspora members in a communique after a meeting in Seoul, Korea South last weekend, noted that as Nigerians in Diaspora and members of the governing party, they express happiness over the nation’s 4 years of democratic journey, with inauguration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Vice President Kashim Shetima as well as 28-newly elected state governors. It called on elected political leaders on good governance, democracy dividends and improved service delivery to citizens.

Recall that the Dispapora chapter of the ruling party had in April endorsed Orji Kalu for the No 3 Office. However, further pressing their request in a statement on Tuesday by the Party’s South Korea Chairman, Hon. Yuccee Uwah appealed to the 107 Senators-elect to toe the path of justice, equity and fairness by supporting the emergence of the two time former Abia Governor.

Yuccee highlighted Kalu’s contributions to the strengthening of the party in the South-East and the entire country, adding that the Senate Chief Whip possessed the required exposure and competence to lead his colleagues in the Senate, if they offered him their support.

The statement reads partly;

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“As Nigerians in Diaspora and members of the APC, hearty congratulations to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shetima and 28 new governors on their successful inauguration on Monday, May 29, 2023. It was a momentous occasion for Nigeria’s democratic credentials, continuously thriving for 24 years. Proudly Nigerians, we join other patriots to restate that democracy has come to stay in Nigeria. Our country is the right path to consolidation of civil governance, keeping hope renewed, and ensuring our nation reaches its destination of democracy, economic and social development.”

“As we await inauguration of the 10th National Assembly, we respectfully appeal to Senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect to place national interests ahead of other considerations. It is a truism that democracy thrives on a tripod of equity, justice, and inclusiveness, and these are irreducible minimums. The 2023 Elections have come and gone; winners declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“It is incumbent for members of the National Assembly to approach selection of its leaders with all sense of responsibility by voting for competence and credible leadership, prioritizing equity, justice, and inclusivity. Globally, governments and parliaments’ decisions aim to advance equity, justice, and inclusiveness. Therefore, as Nigeria aspires to build a strong and virile democracy in our dear country, as the representatives of the Nigerian people, the decisions you will make affect, generations yet unborn.”

“The APC Korea, therefore, notes that having review political developments in Nigeria it is imperative that Nigerian Senate votes for Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, the current Senate Chief Whip, whom it argued possess huge democratic credential to merit the position, given his extensive leadership experience in private sector, public administration, and political leadership.

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“The former governor of Abia state and a founding member of a national political movement in Nigeria, Kalu has the required exposure and competence to lead his colleagues in the Senate, if they offer him their support.

“After a thorough review of current political environment in Nigeria, we are convinced that that there is need to ensure spread in the distribution of top level positions in the country using the principle of equity, justice, and inclusiveness to ensure that no part of the country is and/or perceived to be marginalized in distribution of positions, and resources.”

“As a candidate Senator Orji Uzor Kalu embodies equity and fairness. He has been a strong advocate for national unity and has worked tirelessly to ensure that the voices of Nigerian people are heard through his record of achievements in the Senate and other endeavours. As a former governor of Abia state, he has a proven track record of leadership, innovative ideas, and has shown the high level of commitment required to lead the 109 Senate as its presiding officer.

“Senator Kalu’s election as the president of the Nigerian Senate would not only be a victory for Nigeria but will equally be for the integration of Nigerians that believe in equity, justice, fairness, and inclusion. He has requisite experience, the vision, and the leadership qualities needed to steer the Senate towards a brighter future. His commitment to the rule of law, transparency, and accountability is exactly what Nigeria needs at this critical time in its history.”

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“We call on all Senators-elect to put aside personal interests and consider the greater good of the Nigerian people. Senator Kalu is the right choice for the presidency of the Nigerian Senate, and we urge all senators to support him in his bid for this important position. Let us work together to build a Nigeria that is fair and just, where every citizen has an equal opportunity to succeed. Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is the leader who can make this vision a reality.

“It is our hope that members of our great party in House of Representatives, including our leader, President Bola Tinubu support Senator Orji Uzor Kalu’s ambition to the Senate Presidency in line with the principle of equity, justice, and inclusiveness for the people of South East Nigeria to have a sense of belonging.

“As Nigerians in the Diaspora, we remain hopeful that the National will build all political parties to work together to support the emergence of Senator Kalu as his commitment to join hands with the President to build a strong and virile democracy that advances national development.

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Business and Economy

Nigerian Minister laments low investment in Infrastructure

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By Iyojo Ameh

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Atiku Bagudu on Friday said the country has not invested enough in infrastructural development.

According to him, several problems been encountered recently by Nigerian are as direct results of under- investment in several multi- dimension infrastructure.

The minister spoke at the National Assembly during an interactive session with the Senate committee on Appropriation under the chairmanship of Senator Olamilekan Adeola.

The minister was invited to provide insight into the N6.2 trillion supplementary appropriation approval for the 2024 budget by the National Assembly as requested by President Bola Tinubu.

Bagudu commended President Tinubu for the political will yo confront the infrastructure deficit by seeking the N3.2 trillion to fund the projects which include the Lagos – Calabar coastal highway, the Sokoto – Badagry highway and the Trans- Sahara highway.

He commended the President for his confidence that the projects when completed will increase economic activities and shore up the nation’s revenue base.

He added that the projects will encourage massive transformation apart from strengthening economic realities.

The minister while trying to douse the agitation of members of the committee on the fate of other deplorable roads and uncompleted roads projects in their various constituents said the federal government has not abandoned any of the ongoing projects.

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Bagudu categorically stated that the government is not giving priority attention to the innovative projects at the expense of other road projects.

He assured that the Federal Executive Council will continue to consider and give financial approval to other roads as funds are available.

The minister though did not give a detailed statement of the supplementary approval, gave a sectoral overview of both the N3.2 trillion of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Projects and the N3 trillion increase in the recurrent component of the budget.

Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola the government has full capacity to finance the 2024 budget.

He , however implore the minister to make available to the committee a full detail and breakdown of the N6.2 trillion approval as soon as possible.

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Business and Economy

Economy : CBN announces indices on growth and stability …As Senate interfaces with the CBN Gov

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By Iyojo Ameh

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja , rolled out indices , signaling improved growth and stability of the Nation’s economy.

This is as the apex bank through its Governor , Olayemi Cardoso , assured Nigerians of better days ahead .

Rolling out the growth and economic stability indices during statutory engagement with the Senate Committee on Banking , Insurance and other Financial Institutions , the CBN Governor said : ” The
spread between official and BDC rates has narrowed significantly from N162.62 in January to N47.22 in June 2024, indicating successful price discovery, increased market efficiency, and reduced arbitrage opportunities.

“The stock of external reserves increased to US$36.89 billion as of July 16, 2024, compared with US$33.22 billion at end-December 2023, driven largely by receipts from crude oil related taxes and third-party receipts.

” In Q1 2024, we maintained a current account surplus and saw improvements in our trade balance.

“Our external reserves level as at end-June 2024 can finance over 11 months of import of goods and services, or 14 months of goods only. This is significantly higher than the prescribed international benchmark of 3.0 months, indicating a strong buffer against external shocks.

“The banking sector remains robust and diverse, comprising twenty-six commercial banks, six merchant banks, and four non-interest banks. Key indicators such as capital adequacy, liquidity, and non-performing loan ratios all showed impressive improvements, underscoring the sector’s growing stability and resilience.

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“The equity market has shown impressive performance, with the All-Share Index rising by 33.81 per cent and market capitalization expanding by 38.33 per cent from December 2023 to June 2024, reflecting growing investors’ confidence.

“While we are encouraged by these positive trends, the CBN remains vigilant and committed to implementing policies that support sustainable growth in our financial markets, while maintaining overall economic stability”

He added by assuring the committee members , that required measures and strategies , have been mapped out to confront emerging challenges .

“To combat inflation, we have implemented a comprehensive set of monetary policy measures. These include raising the policy rate by 750 basis points to 26.25 percent, increasing Cash Reserve Ratios, normalizing Open Market Operations as our primary liquidity management tool, and adopting Inflation Targeting as our new monetary policy framework.

“In the area of banking supervision, the CBN has taken decisive actions to ensure the safety, soundness, and resilience of the banking industry.

” Key measures include intervention in three banks, revocation of Heritage Bank’s license, increasing minimum capital requirements, and enhancing AML/CFT supervision.

” We also introduced new frameworks for Cash Reserve Requirements and cybersecurity and prohibited the use of foreign currency collaterals for local currency loans.

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“We are in the process of reviewing the Bank’s micro and macroprudential guidelines to reinforce the resilience of financial institutions in Nigeria to withstand tightened conditions, thus creating a secure and attractive investment climate.

“We have signaled our plans to re-capitalize deposit money banks in Nigeria to improve capital inadequacy and their capacity to grow the economy.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a more stable, resilient, and efficient financial system that can better serve the Nigerian economy, while adhering to international best practices”, he said .

Earlier in his opening remarks , the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adetokunbo Abiru said the overall purpose of the interaction , ” is to update the commiittee on efforts, activities, objectives and plans of the Bank with respect to monetary policy”

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I’m not a power manipulator —senator Bamidele

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The Senator leader senator Opeyemi Bamidele has dispelled the campaign of calumny against him in some social media not the Citypost and office of the Leader of the Senate,

Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele in a statement from his media directorate says some individuals, either misconstrued the statutory role of the Majority Leader in a democracy or willfully distorted established legislative rules that charged the Majority Leader with the duty of leading the business of the Parliament, including government bills.

The statement reads in parts:

“Senator Bamidele is never a power manipulator, enemy of the people and an obstacle to national peace, as some reactionaries or agents of regressive forces have been peddling in the social media. As a political actor who enjoys vast public trust, he will never or can never act against the core and strategic interests of Nigeria and Nigerians at any level”

“Under Rule 23, the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended) specifically provides for the Office of the Leader of the Senate, who shall be a Senator duly nominated from the political party with the highest number of seats in the Senate. This is the global best practice, which is not peculiar to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but also to all democracies worldwide”

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“The rule further establishes that the Leader of the Senate shall (a) lead all government bills; (b) lead the business of the Senate; (c) manage the legislative schedule of the Senate; (d) liaise with Committee Chairmen and other functionaries of the Senate and (e) perform such duties as the President may assign to him.

Consistent with the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended), therefore, Senator Bamidele is under obligation to lead all government bills, a role he has been playing creditably. By implication, he is responsible for sponsoring and promoting government bills originating from the Executive Arm or its ministries, departments and agencies”

“In this light, Senator Bamidele has been able to manage the floor debate on government bills successfully; build consensus across political divides; mobilise support for government bills within the Senate and lead negotiations to gain broader support. Since his assumption of office on July 4, 2023, Senator Bamidele has equally deployed strategies in navigating the complex legislative procedures to advance government bills and coordinated closely with the Executive Arm to ensure that government bills reflect the administration’s policies and priorities”

“Like other principal officers of the Senate, the role of the Leader of the Senate is provided for in the Senate Standing Orders, 2023 (as amended). In Nigeria, particularly, this role has been pivotal in advancing the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR through the National Assembly. And he has played the role well through a combination of strategic planning, negotiation and leadership skills”

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