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Delta Guber: Egugbo Punctures Lies Of Gbagi, Says NOUN Never Dismiss Monday Onyeme

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By Lateef Taiwo

An Asaba, Delta State-based Journalist, Comrade Fidelis Egugbo, has dismissed the lies by the gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Mr Kenneth Gbagi, purporting that the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Sir Monday Onyeme, was dismissed from the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN.

Gbagi was quoted to have alleged that Sir Onyeme was dismissed for forgery when he (Gbagi) was the Minister of State for Education.

Egugbo, on Monday, however, observed that though, the case for the 2023 gubernatorial election was before the Tribunal, Gbagi could have made the allegation to cause disaffection and possibly, incite Deltans against the administration of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori.

He said, “I am confident that no Deltan will take the spurious, unfounded allegation of Mr Kenneth Gbagi serious, because, we are all aware about his antecedents. It is unfortunate that instead of accepting defeat as expected of a true democrat, he is in the tribunal trying to cause disaffection among the people.

“The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Sir Monday Onyeme, has an unblemished record as a civil servant before he was called upon to take political appointment.

“Without going back memory lane to list places that Sir Onyeme has excellently rendered service to humanity, we are all aware that as at 2015, Mr Gbagi was not the Minister of State and it was the year, 2015 that Sir Onyeme, took leave of absence from the NOUN to enable him effectively take charge of the affairs of the Delta State Internal Revenue Service, DSIRS, as its Executive Chairman.

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“The immediate past Governor of Delta State, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, believes in excellence and his administration was able to woo Sir Onyeme, a tax expert from the NOUN to head the DSIRS.

“Gbagi alleged that as a Minister of State for Education, he set up a panel to investigate Sir Onyeme and also, sat on the panel as its Chairman and went further to recommend the dismissal of Sir Onyeme as a Bursar; and failed to institute legal actions against Sir Onyeme for forgery. Such a situation can only be imagined as Sir Onyeme took leave of absence years after Gbagi was dropped as Minister of State for Education.

“Someone described his allegation as ‘cock and bull story’ as Nigerians are all aware that Sir Onyeme after his appointment, applied for and was granted leave of absence in 2015 when he answered the call to serve Deltans as the Chairman, DSIR, a position he again, relinquished voluntarily when he was chosen as the running mate to Rt. Hon. Oborevwori in 2022.

”As the Deputy Governor of Delta State, members of the National Open University of Nigeria Alumni Association, NOUNAA, Delta State Chapter, few days ago, paid a congratulatory visit on Sir Onyeme at his office at Government House, Asaba.. That visit clearly attest to how the Deputy Governor is valued at the NOUN.

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“Following his emergence as the running mate to Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori in 2022, it became clear, that his career at the NOUN had ended and as a man who believes in due process, Sir Onyeme who resigned his appointment at DSIR, also, resigned as the Bursar of the NOUN.

“His resignation put to an end, a robust nine years as Bursar of NOUN, a position that he put his expertise to use as he was never queried nor faced any panel whatsoever within the period. It was not surprising as Gbagi, was also, the only witness in his case before the tribunal.

“It is unfortunate that what Gbagi went to the tribunal with was a ‘trophy,’ that he personally raised criminal issues against the Deputy Governor, set up a panel which he was the Chairman, tried him, found him guilty and dismissed him, without having in mind that Nigerians are aware that he left office as a Minister for State years before Sir Onyeme voluntarily retired from NOUN.

“We can recall that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his running mate, Sir Monday Onyeme as the winners of the 18 March governorship election in Delta State.

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“The State INEC Collation Officer, Onuwari Georgewill, a Professor and Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, said Oborevwori polled a total of 360,234 votes to defeat his closest opponent, Ovie Omo-Agege of the All Progressive Party (APC) who scored 240,229 votes.

“Georgewill said Kennedy Pela of the Labour Party came third with 48,027 votes, while Great Ogboru of the All Progressive Grand Alliance came fourth with 11,021 votes, so, discerning Deltans are wondering what Gbagi is doing in the tribunal but it is his constitutional right to do so.

” According to The Cable, ‘Kenneth Gbagi prides himself as an attorney, a criminologist, an entrepreneur and philanthropist. He served as Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of Education in the twilight of the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. His tenure was so brief and uneventful, he is scarcely remembered to have held that office.'”

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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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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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