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10th Senate Presidency: “Why we’re backing Orji Kalu ” – Arewa Youth Forum

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The leader of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Alhaji Yerima Shettima has given reasons the Northern Youth Forum implored the former Governor of Zamfara State and frontline Senate Presidential aspirant, Senator Abdulaziz Yari to concede the Senate President to the former Governor of Abia State and Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.

Speaking on a short live interview during Arise TV’s news belt on Saturday, Shettima stated that the emanation of the next Senate President from the Southeast will entrench peace , unity and stability in the country.

The Youth Leader stressed that a Senate President of Southeast extraction will dispel the insinuations that the North were against the political emancipation of the Southeasterners. According to him the country is currently enmeshed with divisions than it was in 2014, furthermore the 2023 general elections was characterised by Religious disparities between the Muslims and the Christians and the emergence of Christian from the Southeast can put an end to these divisions.

On the choice of the Former Abia Governor, Shettima explained that Kalu was acceptable to the North and entire Nigerians judging by his antecedents as a two time Governor and current status as the Senate Chief Whip. Shettima described Kalu as one of the few experienced politicians from the Southeast who understands the game of Politics.

When asked if Yari was disposed to the call to shelve his ambition to support Orji Kalu, Shettima expressed optimism that the former Zamfara Governor would heed to their call on the basis of National interest. Shetimma called on both Senators elect to rub minds together and agree on position.

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Shettima said ” “I have a lot of respect for Former Governor Yari and he is also eminently qualified to be the Senate President, but in this case we are looking at the overall best interest of the Nation.

“There’s no way the new Government can cope with the level of agitations in the country, not that there’s any threat but it’s in the spirit of oneness and unity of our country”.

“My antecedents have always been in principle and we felt that at this critical period , this is a country where every citizen has equal rights and for me I felt strongly we should have a more united country than one with divisions.

“And don’t forget before 2014 we were more united and compared to where we ate today in which we are more divided and I as a person have pondered about the country and felt strongly that there’s no way we would have a country where a lot of Nigerians are suspicious of one another.

“There can only be good governance in a peaceful environment where there’s love for one another and that’s only where the Government can thrive. Don’t forget the 2023 general elections was characterised with dichotomy between Muslims and Christianity and various divisions amongst ethnic Nationalities.

“At this critical period all hands must be on deck to ensure that we unite this country at this critical period, so at the end of the day we can have a common united country called Nigeria and that will inform our decision and thinking.

“To have a Muslim as President and Vice President it will be out of place to consider that we shall have another Muslim as a Senate President as the No 3 citizen of the country.

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“So for me in the spirit of equity, fairness and justice we have to look inward and look at other parts of the country . For over time there has been this perception that the North are ganging up against the Southeast. Though the South East are not playing the game of Politics in the way that it should be , only few of them are playing it the right way. Having said that they remain our brothers and Nigerians. And at this point I felt strongly that if we can also, give them the chance and all the necessary support to come up and occupy the No3 seat.

“After our findings, we just realised that the only face we have there (Southeast) is Orji Uzor, and Orji Kalu looking at his antecedents as the two time Governor of Abia and the Senate Chief Whip Today, he is one of the ranking Senators. Not because Yari is not qualified, he too is an experienced Governor and at the same time a very good person who is straightforward and reliable and someone we always admire whom I have a lot of respect for.

“But we think that in the spirit of unity we can have a country where we can all have peace and move forward, because there’s no way this Government can perform where there’s much agitation.

“At this time we cannot afford to have other agitations against what we have to ground, look at the security situation and other agitations this country cannot stand. So in the spirit of oneness and the Love of the country, this is how we arrived at the conclusion. Yari and Kalu can sit and iron things out of course they are both Senators, they can agree and disagree but at the end of the day let them have a common ground in the best interest of the country so that we can forge ahead.

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“I only spoke out only 24 hours ago when I arrived at our conclusion after due consultations, I have nor heard from Senator Yari or from any of his family or associates but I strongly believe that the message has gotten across to him and we shall continue to appeal to him. I am not in anyway saying that he is not qualified but I’m saying that we must have a country and I believe that we too is a patriotic Nigerian who believes so much in the country and I know that he will do everything possible and he will realise that if this all he can give out for the country to he at peace . Not because there’s any fear from any angle , but because we need a country where all citizens will be treated equally in the spirit of oneness and love for on another. I think we should think in that direction so that in this situation we can all carry everybody along in the spirit of oneness. I think that is the best thing and it’s not too much to make that sacrifice, if they come together and agree then he (Yari) becomes the Deputy Senate President it’s better than the choice of their party. We should look at the Southeast and give them the Position for now.

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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General News

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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