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Renewed Hope Agenda: Godswill Akpabio, “The Man in the arena of legislative Interventions”

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By Kingsley Okoye

It was Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of America, who said, in one of his famous quote.

” It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

” The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again.

“Because there is no effort without error or short coming,but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause.

“Who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who,at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly,so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Roosevelt’s famous quote on striving valiantly and daring greatly, exemplifies the personna of President of Nigerian 10th Senate, Senator. Godswill Akpabio.

Akpabio’s pedigree, archivements, leadership and political antecedents continues to attract recognition across all strata of the Nigerian society and beyond.

Akpabio, a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and Minister of Niger- Delta Affairs, also served as Commissioner in three different ministries.

A servant leader,whose social contract, loyalty, dedication and commitment to the people remained unwavering as demonstrated over time,with measurable and lasting legacies to show for his time in various offices, most importantly the uncommon and unprecedented transformation of Akwa Ibom state into one of the flagship states in Nigeria.

On assumption, as President of the 10th Senate and Chairman of National Assembly, Akpabio did not mince words on the agenda of the 10th Senate for Nigerians under his leadership,as he declared in his inaugural speech that the 10th Senate would work for the good of Nigerians and help ensure practical attainment of “Renewed Hope Agenda” of President Bola Tinubu via enactment of people oriented legislations, proper oversight of Ministries Departments and Agencies(MDAs) and ensure life enhancing legislative interventions across sectors of the economy for the good of Nigerians.

“We will expand legislations to improve revenue stream and proper oversight of MDAs to reduce waste of resources, make laws to ensure foreign direct investment into the country.

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“We will pay attention to insecurity to ensure that our roads are free for people to travel to any parts of the country.

“We are here to do national duties,this Senate is about Nigeria and Nigerians, so long as the policies that comes to this chamber is about empowering Nigerians, we shall dwell and deliberate on them.

“I did not believe in politically motivated infrastructure, the 10th Senate would ensure serious oversight functions on MDAs.

“We will put members of the executive on their toe, particularly the ministers, when they are appointed, we will follow project by project and will do our best in terms of appropriation”, Akpabio said at in his inaugural address.

Akpabio, in October 21,2023, leading Nigeria’s delegation to the 147th Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU)General Assembly in Luanda,Angola,broke a 59 year old jinx, with his election into the executive committee of the global parliamentary body for a three year mandate.

The last time, a Nigerian was elected into the executive committee of the parliamentary union, whose mandate is to facilitate parliamentary diplomacy and empowers parliaments and parliamentarians to promote peace, democracy and sustainable development around the world was in 1964.

Unaguably, many believed that the giant strides,activities and legislative interventions of the 10th Senate under Akpabio’s leadership in the past six months is a pointer and commitment to working the talk on the”Renewed Hope Agenda” of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

In the last six months of inauguration of the 10th Senate under his leadership, the Upper Chamber has continued to enact landmark legislations, pass resolutions and intervened in critical moments for the good of Nigerians and the nation in general.

First, was the intervention of the Senate in the industrial dispute by the National Association of Resident Doctors, as the strike almost halted the delivery of health services in the nation’s health facilities.

The suspension of the NLC, TUC, strike, occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government, was also linked to the patriotic intervention of the Senate led Akpiabio.

On working the talk to reduce hardship faced by Nigerians,Akpabio led Senate,via a motion resisted the scheduled upward adjustment of electricity tariff for onward implementation by the electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).

Given,the narratives of take a “bow and go syndrome” in the past,associated with secreening of ministerial nominees,and other appointees of the executive,the senate under Akpabio ensured intense screening and confirmation of ministers, and other nominees from the executive ,an affirmation of a 10th senate that upholds principle of checks and balances between the executive and the legislature and independence of the legislature.

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Akpabio’s leadership penchant for prosperity for Nigeria and Nigerians was manifesting in the enactment of legislations to drive the desired growth of the economy, as many far reaching bills, motions, resolutions across critical sectors of the economy has been passed at various stages, while many other bills are still undergoing legislative inputs at committee stages.

Most recently was the passing of the amendment of on the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation to extend its implementation from Jan.31, to March 31, 2024.

The extension was to give all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that received allocation recently for 2023 supplementary budget more time to execute critical projects designed to reflate the economy and ultimately engender further prosperity of Nigeria and Nigerians.

The icing of the cake, was when Akpiabio led national assembly with lawmakers demonstrated uncommon nationalism and patriotism,while sacrificing their Christmas celebration to pass the 2024 Appropriation Bill to maintain the January to December Budget Cycle already established in the 9th Senate.

Akpabio’s disposition for qualitative leadership in governance has endeared many to him, as they took turns to shower encomiums on him during his recent 61st birthday anniversary.

President Bola Tinubu had remarked on December 9, that the nation was celebrating a political leader, whose antecedents and achievements continue to attract recognition at home and abroad.

He said Akpabio’s service to the nation continues to inspire patriotism.

The immediate past President of the ninth Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan also extoled Akpabio for his remarkable achievements throughout his political career.

He commended Akpabio’s efforts in championing legislative initiatives, and lauded his unwavering determination in advocating for good governance.

Lawan said Akpabio has displayed throughout his political career as an uncommon leader, via his dedication to public service and commitment to improving the lives of the Nigerian people.

“As President of the Nigerian Senate and Chairman of National Assembly, you have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to making a lasting impact as you stir the affairs of the National Assembly.”

Lawan commended Akpabio’s tireless efforts in championing legislative initiatives and applauded his unwavering determination to advocate good governance.

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Senator .Okechukwu Ezea representing Enugu-North also described the leadership of Akpabio as one filled with dynamism, uncommon performance and exceptional brilliance.

Ezea said Akpabio was an astute administrator, a dogged lover of democracy and an uncommon leader, while restating his commitment and collaboration in working with Akpabio to further put smiles on the faces of Nigerians through life-touching motions, bills and other legislative interventions.

Deputy President of the Senate, Jibrin Barau, also described Akpabio as a patriotic Nigerian par excellence.

“You are a patriotic Nigerian par excellence. Your contribution to the entrenchment of democracy is immense, sterling, and novel, first as a governor, a senator, a minority leader, a minister, and now President of the Senate.

“As encapsulated in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present administration, the welfare, interest, and general well-being of Nigerians are paramount to us in the 10th Senate under your able leadership,Barau had said.

Similarly, leader of the Senate, Opeyemi Bamidele, commended Akpabio’s commitment to promoting the cause of the masses and pro-people legislation.

He said since his emergence as the president of Senate, Akpabio had been providing strategic leadership that prioritised consensus-building in the interest of peace, progress and development.

Bamidele said that Akpabio has always been calm, peaceful and unruffled, even amid scathing public criticism,always according utmost respect to all legislators regardless of their political leanings.

With Akpabio, as the man at the gavel, driving the needed legislative interventions for the good of Nigerians, many believe, that Nigerians are in for the best of representation, lawmaking and oversight of MDAs and other deserving legislative interventions for the good of the nation.

As lawmakers’ resume back from recess latter in the month ,It is believed, that the 10th Senate and by extension the National Assembly,under the leadership of Akpabio would continue to enact far reaching legislations like amendment to the Constitution, Electoral Act, Finance Act, Petroleum Industry Act(PIA)Minimum Wage Adjustment Bill, Audit Bill, fight against corruption bills among many other development prone legislations across various sectors to drive the needed growth and development and ultimately result in attainment of “renewed hope agenda” via mitigation of poverty and ultimately increased prosperity of Nigerians and the nation.

Okoye Kingsley is a media professional in Abuja.

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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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Business and Economy

Airlines, Banks, Media Outlets Hit as Global IT Outage Wreaks Havoc

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By Iyojo Ameh

A global tech outage, seemingly linked to issues at cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike and tech giant Microsoft, disrupted operations across multiple sectors on Friday, impacting airports, airlines, media outlets, and banks.

The outage caused significant disruptions in airport and airline IT systems, leading to grounded flights and widespread service interruptions.
Notably, Sydney airport has seen flights halted, United Airlines has ceased operations, and the London Stock Exchange Group’s platform has encountered disruptions.

In Germany, Berlin airport experienced IT problems, causing delays in check-ins due to technical faults.

Also, rail transportation has not been spared, as the UK’s Govia Thameslink Railway reported widespread IT issues across its network, leading to potential cancellations and delays.

The company is actively investigating the root cause and has urged passengers to check their journeys before traveling.

Australia’s Telstra Group also reported service disruptions.

Meanwhile, in a post on X, CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz said the outage was not a “security incident or cyberattack.”

He said it was connected to a “defect found in a single content update for Windows hosts.” He said the issue has been “identified, isolated and a fix has been deployed.”

Also, Microsoft said in a statement on X that “the underlying cause has been fixed,” however, residual impacts continue to affect “some Microsoft 365 apps and services. We’re conducting additional mitigations to provide relief.”

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The affected services include PowerBI, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive for Business, among others. The tech giant is working on mitigation efforts and has already restored some services.

However, this global IT outage highlights the interconnected nature of modern digital infrastructures and the widespread impact that technical disruptions can have across various industries.

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