TINUBU TO RESHUFFLE CABINET, APPOINTS NEW MINISTERS President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has reportedly concluded plans for a shake-up of his cabinet soon. According to Daily Trust, this will include the appointment of new ministers and the creation of a new ministry. The new ministry will be for livestock development, a department hitherto under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. A source said the new ministry was expected to take the lead in addressing the perennial farmer-herder clashes that had continued to have a debilitating impact on the country’s food security, as well as led to the loss of thousands of lives and property. Sources told Daily Trust that aside from the creation of the new ministry, the cabinet reshuffle would see to the appointment of state ministers for most or all the ministries that currently only had one minister. The development will also see to the appointment of ministers for ministries that only have a minister of state, like Labour and Employment, as well as a minister for the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation which Minister, Betta Edu, has been on suspension since January 8. Ministries without ministers of state are arts, culture and creative economy; foreign affairs; special duties and inter-governmental affairs; communications, innovation and digital economy; finance; marine and blue economy; solid minerals development; tourism; transportation; industry, trade and investment; innovation, science and technology; works; sports development; and Women affairs. Others are aviation and aerospace development; power; budget and economic planning; information and national orientation; justice; and Niger delta affairs. One of the sources also disclosed that some ministers of state had been penned down for upgrade and that it was certain that some ministers would be sacked. He said, “I can confirm to you that a former governor is among the ministers that will be dropped in the cabinet shake-up. There is also a minister of state that has been pencilled for upgrade.”


WE’VE NEGOTIATED NEW MINIMUM WAGE WITH LABOUR, NASS TO GET BILL SOON – TINUBU President Bola Tinubu has assured the Organised Labour that a an executive bill on the new national minimum wage for workers will soon be sent to the National Assembly for passage. Tinubu made this known on Wednesday in his second Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2024. “In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with Organised Labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less,” the President said. The President assured Nigerians that his administration has always been receptive to the demands of labour, even when they embarked on strikes that harmed the country. Tinubu said, “I understand the economic difficulties we face as a nation. “Our economy has been in des­perate need of reform for decades. It has been unbalanced because it was built on the flawed foundation of over-reliance on revenues from the exploitation of oil. “The reforms we have initiat­ed are intended to create a stron­ger, better foundation for future growth. There is no doubt the re­forms have occasioned hardship. Yet, they are necessary repairs required to fix the economy over the long run so that everyone has access to economic opportunity, fair pay and compensation for his endeavour and labour. “As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you. “In this spirit, we have negoti­ated in good faith and with open arms with organised labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less. “In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the work­ers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict. “No one was arrested or threat­ened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith res­olution. “Reasoned discussion and prin­cipled compromise are hallmarks of democracy. These themes shall continue to animate my policies and interaction with the constitu­ent parts of our political economy. “I take on this vital task without fear or favour and I commit myself to this work until we have built a Ni­geria where no man is oppressed”.


IT’S CRIMINAL FOR STATES TO MISAPPROPRIATE LOCAL GOVT FUNDS – SULLIVAN CHIME A Fmformer Governor of Enugu State, Mr Sullivan Chime, says it is criminal for states in the country to misappropriate local government funds, saying that it hinders development at the grassroots. Chime stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Enugu while reacting to how far Nigeria has gone with her democracy after 25 years. He said that any governor who ran the local government system without a democratically elected council, as stipulated by the Nigerian constitution, amounted to misappropriation. According to him, Nigeria has a perfect local government system, as the constitution empowers states to make laws for the existence of local governments under a democratically elected council. “But sadly, I don’t know how many states in this country since 1999 that obeys that constitution. “I can beat my chest that from 2007 when I became governor until we left, we ran a local government system in Enugu State by the democratically elected council uninterrupted for eight years. “When we came in, there was none in place so to meet the requirements of the law, we had transitional government, as we came in May 2007 and by December same year, we held our first local government election. “And from that December 2007, it was held every two years until we left office in 2015,” he said. He explained that council chairmen under his administration built paved roads because they had access to their money. “So it is a criminal for states to misappropriate local government funds, that is, states dealing with local government funds other than the system provided by the constitution,” he said. The former Enugu governor observed that the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was not up and doing in arresting former governors who failed to conduct council elections, which had resulted in the country being a mess. He added that if one or two former governors had gone to jail for misappropriating local government funds, the serving governors would take caution. “Federal Government is wasting money to take serving governors to Supreme Court over Council’s funds. Send one or two former governors to jail or all who did not observe the law, and it will stop. “We don’t need any reform but implement the law as it is and even the Supreme Court that has course to make pronouncement on the illegality of caretaker committee, yet it is going unabated,” Chime said. On calls for INEC to conduct LG elections, Chime said it would be difficult for the commission to handle it. He said that states had the capacity to run the council election in accordance with the law, saying, “if you feel SIECs are not performing, take them to court. “The INEC you are rushing to conduct the election, are they any better?” Chime asked.The former governor, however, congratulated Nigerians on 25 years of uninterrupted democracy and prayed for a better Nigeria under President Bola Tinubu.


TRAGEDY IN MALAWI AS VP, EX-FIRST LADY, OTHERS FEARED KILLED IN PLANE CRASH The military aircraft conveying Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima which went missing on Monday have been found. The military plane carrying the VP and nine others, including the former First Lady, Shanil Dzimbiri, failed to make a landing on Monday morning. The VP and the nine others were to attend the funeral of a prominent Malawian lawyer, former Attorney General and Justice Minister, Ralph Kasambala in Mzuzu. President Lazarus Chakwera had ordered regional and national forces to conduct an immediate search and rescue operation to locate the whereabouts of the missing aircraft. It was however gathered that the Dornier 228 military plane was found in the Chikangawa Forest early hours of Tuesday. All passengers on board were reportedly dead. A statement issued on Tuesday morning by the Press Secretary to the President, Anthony Rogbers Kasunda said President Chakwera will address the general public shortly.


ECLIPSE OF NASI EL-RUFAI, THE SUN “Without death penalty, 90% of Nigerians will continue to see corruption as God’s blessings. The anti-corruption campaign will be a huge waste of time. We are already heavily populated, why can’t we sacrifice the top criminals to save the country’s future?” – Nasir El-Rufai Now, the House of Assembly in Kaduna State, the state Nasir el-Rufai governed until May 29, 2023, says the former governor is corrupt. Any report of the political demise of el-Rufai may not just be exaggerated, to call up that legendary construction by Mark Twain, it may also be premature. Even at that, there is no doubt that the Kaduna State House of Assembly has dealt the former governor a heavy blow. Perception may, after all, not be everything, but it counts for a lot. El-Rufai’s present travails in Kaduna are more than a matter of perception. It is a weighty formal indictment by the state legislature, laced with facts and figures. The Kaduna State House of Assembly cannot easily be accused of being hasty in arriving at its indictment of el-Rufai. The report of the ad hoc committee of the assembly, which found the former governor culpable of acts of corruption, is a culmination of investigations of the finances and economic activities of the government of the state between 2015 and 2023 when el-Rufai held sway as governor. At the plenary of the assembly on Wednesday, June 5, when the ad hoc committee presented its findings and report, chairman of the committee, Henry Zecharia, spoke with a heavy heart. The committee said it established that el-Rufai and his government siphoned N423 billion belonging to the state. According to Hon. Zecharia, his committee found out that huge loans obtained by the el-Rufai government on behalf of the state were not used for the very purposes they were obtained. In the same vein, contracts awarded by his administration did not follow due process. For instance, of N510 billion contracts awarded by the el-Rufai’s government, only N128 was paid for, the report said. That leaves a whopping N382 billion outstanding as liabilities for the succeeding governments. The import of the financial malfeasance, which the Kaduna State Assembly levelled against el-Rufai and his associates in government is that Kaduna State has been saddled with a heavy debt burden, resulting in difficulties in meeting basic responsibilities, such as payment of salaries of workers of the state. Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Hon. Yusuf Liman, in receiving the report of the ad hoc committee, conferred ownership of the document by the state legislature. The House subsequently called on anti-corruption agencies to step in to further investigate the charges and then do the needful. The decision by the state legislature to examine the books of the government of Kaduna Sstate in the eight years preceding the present administration must have been triggered by the persistent groaning of the incumbent governor, Senator Uba Sani. The governor has complained bitterly, almost since he assumed office, that the finances of the state, as he met them, were in a mess. The situation rendered him almost incapable of meeting the obligations of the state. Governor Sani stopped short of declaring the Kaduna State he inherited from el-Rufai bankrupt. Curiously, the only noted response that seemed to have come from the side of the former governor to his successor’s complaint was a truculent riposte from his son to the effect that Governor Sani and his lieutenants lack creativity and are often in Abuja, instead of sitting back at their post in Kaduna. That, of course, cannot be a cogent defence to weighty charges of financial indiscretion against an administration. Mike Ozekhome, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, last weekend, called for fair hearing…


I EFCC BEGINS INVESTIGATION ON EL-RUFAI, SET TO INVITE FORMER GOVERNOR A special task force of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to commence a full-scale investigation into the alleged fraud case involving former Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai. It was understood that the task force held a long session on Monday, during which it considered the content of the Ad-Hoc Committee of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, which indicted the former Governor for alleged misappropriation of N423 billion. According to a source quoted by The Nation, the EFCC is set to invite El-Rufai and others who worked with him during his administration for questioning. Others set to be questioned include individuals who held the position of Finance commissioners between May 29, 2015, and May 29, 2023; all the accountant generals during his eight-year tenure, and the chairpersons of the Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KADIRS) from 2018 to 2023. Others include all former managing directors of the Kaduna Market Development and Management Company Ltd within the period from May 29, 2015, to May 29, 2023, and the former managing directors of Kaduna Roads Agency (KADRA) from October 11, 2017, to November 2021, with the exclusion of Amina Ja’afar Ladan, an engineer who had a brief one-month tenure. “We are in receipt of a petition from an NGO. So, we have started investigation in the matters raised in the petition. “The report of the Ad-Hoc Committee of the Kaduna State House of Assembly is also handy. We will soon invite el-Rufai and some members of his team for interrogation. “The Special Task Force on Monday (yesterday) held a long session on the contents of the petition and the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee.”“The report of the House of Assembly has actually laid a solid foundation for the probe by our team,” the source said.


WHAT WILL NIGERIA LOOK LIKE WITH A REGIONAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT? BY BAYO WAHAB Many Nigerians believe a regional system of government offers a solution to some of the problems bedevilling the country. Talks about Nigeria returning to a regional system of government are back in the news — this time with an air of legitimacy. When the draft of a bill proposing a re-adoption of regionalism surfaced and went viral on social media two weeks ago, the House of Representatives disowned the document, saying there was no such bill before its committee for deliberation. The bill, authored by Akin Fapounda, a retired director in the federal civil service, seeks among other things, a new legal framework to be cited as “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.” However, barring a last-minute change, Fapohunda has resolved to forward the document to President Bola Tinubu, who may present it to the National Assembly as an executive bill. This model of government tends to align with Nigerians’ yearning for restructuring and this is evident in the reactions Fapohunda’s proposal has generated on social media. Even though the call for a return to regionalism is often politically motivated, many Nigerians believe it offers a solution to some of the problems bedevilling the country. So, what’s a regional system of government? A regional system of government is a form of government in which each region is allowed to control the resources in its territory and pay royalties to the central government. It is the reverse of the current system the country operates in which economic power and control are concentrated in the hands of the Federal Government, which in turn shares revenues with state and local governments. The regional government concept isn’t completely alien to Nigeria as in the 1950s, the country operated this model comprising a central government and three regional governments in the Western, Eastern, and Northern regions. The Mid-Western region was later carved out of the Western region in 1963. This model was sustained until 1966, when Nigeria’s first military Head of State, General Aguiyi Ironsi, promulgated the ‘unification decree’ following the killing of national political figures by rebellious soldiers. The killing marked the first coup in Nigeria and the beginning of military interruptions in the country’s political system. In a bid to eliminate tribal loyalty and sectional interests encouraged by regionalism, Ironsi introduced a unitary system of government aimed at fostering unity and national cohesion. Notwithstanding the tribalism entrenched in the model, each of the regions recorded significant developments in different areas as it encouraged healthy competition among the regions governed by the three major tribes: the Yorubas, Hausas, and Igbos. The development of these regions championed by their political leaders was largely predicated on an agrarian economy. The Western region under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo had cocoa as its economic mainstay, while the development of the Northern region supervised by Sir Ahmadu Bello relied on groundnut, cotton, and other agricultural produce. The economy of the Eastern region under the leadership of Michael Okpara was hinged on the production of palm and cassava while the Mid-Western region had a rubber industry situated in Sapele. Many Nigerians who experienced regionalism as a system of government believe the country was better off under this arrangement. In a recent interview with ThisDay, a former national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Senator Victor Umeh, said the system allowed the regions to pursue development aggressively without any problem. “All these regions were developing at their own pace with the resources available to them. They were contributing royalties to the federal government. You could see that the speed of development was quite high,” he submitted. It…


35 REPS PUSH FOR SIX-YEAR TENURE FOR PRESIDENT, ROTATION AMONG ZONES Thirty-five members of the House of Representatives have proposed a Bill for an Act demanding the constitutional alteration to provide for the rotation of executive powers among the six geopolitical zones. This according to them is to ensure equal representation and reduce the desperation and tempo of agitation for the creation of states, News360 Nigeria gathered. The lawmakers led by Rep. Ikenga Ugochinyere (PDP-Imo), made the call while addressing a news conference at the National Assembly in Abuja on Monday. He said that the lawmakers were also seeking the amendment of Section III of the constitution to provide for the recognition of the division of Nigeria into six geopolitical zones. He added that they were also seeking the provision of a single tenure of six years for the President and Governors in the country. “The bill is also seeking reduction in government spending and wastage, efficiency in governance, and national stability by providing a single term of six years for the President and Governors. According to them, we want the creation of the office of two vice presidents from the southern and northern parts of Nigeria. ” The 1st vice shall be a succession Vice president, while the 2nd Vice president shall be a Minister in charge of the Economy, and both shall be Ministers. He added that, the financial autonomy and accountability of Local Government Councils by prescribing an independent Consolidated Local Government Council Account was germane. This, he said would be solely superintended by Local Councils and prescribing long-term imprisonment for any misuse of Local Government funds. He said that the bill would seek to amend the relevant sections of the Electoral Act to ensure that all elections at both Federal and State levels were held on the same day among others. The lawmaker said that the bill if become an Act, would ensure that all elections and election-related litigation were concluded within a period of six months. This, according to his is before the swearing into office of the validly elected person for the office contested.“Ours is a commitment to building a united, stable, and prosperous nation. Nigeria can and must become a great and modern nation.”


SOLUDO’S VERSUS FLAVOUR; IT’S A CASE OF KETTLE CALLING POT BLACK, BY POPE AMAEFUNA Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, has launched a scathing media attack on Flavour for holding his father’s burial reception at Enugu, denying claims that the decision was bourne out of insecurity. The Anambra State government through the media aides of the governor has described the decision by high life musician Flavour as a case of paying the price for irresponsibility. The state government accused Flavour of not building a befitting house in his village Umunze. The Soludo attack states: “The situation with Flavour ‘Nabania’ holding the reception for his late father’s burial in Enugu is a clear instance of someone not investing in their community. “He was born and brought up in Enugu, where he has chosen as a home over his native homeland, Umunze in Anambra, where he has not built a suitable home befitting of his personality, and those around him should not use insecurity as an excuse for him to host an event in Enugu instead of Umunze, his home”. While the accusation by the governor appears to be a germane defense concocted in the interest of the public image of the state, it is worthy to note that the accuser, Gov Soludo also boycotted Anambra State and chose Enugu State when he invested millions in his hospitality business. It is rather ironical that Gov Soludo who has zero investment in Anambra State is accusing Flavour of not thinking home. Till date, all Soludo’s investments in South East Nigeria are located outside Anambra State. His multi million dollar Nondon hotel investment was built in Enugu State and is contributing to Enugu State economy till date while Anambra State remains completely ignored. A typical case reminiscent of a soot covered kettle calling pot black. A public servant who despite his means and reach in both public office and as a private individual chose to ignore his home state while investing massively in Enugu and create jobs for ndi Enugu, has no moral justification to launch such attack on Flavour who has never held any public office and has never asked anyone for a vote. It is also worthy to note that it was Gov Soludo who introduced the highly controversial and economically retrogressive Anambra burial laws which would have criminalized the burial reception of Flavour’s father had it been hosted in Anambra State. We cannot forget in a hurry how the same governor publicly turned his funeral tribute into a platform to attack the family of the deceased during the burial of the matriach of the Obimma family (Mama Ebube Muonso) at Nkwelle. Instead of attacking private citizens of Anambra State, the governor who collects and manages public funds and tax payers monies should focus his energies on battling kidnappers who are having a field day in his domain. Private individuals reserve the right to make personal decisions on their own interests. The governor should concentrate on battling criminality and securing the lives and properties of Ndi Anambra instead of dabbling into diversionary flippancy and unproductive ramblings.Pope Amaefuna, writes from the Vatican Villa, Oraukwu.


RIVERS GOVT REACTS TO COURT VERDICT ON PRO-WIKE LAWMAKERS, SAYS THEY’RE NO PDP MEMBERS The Rivers State Government has officially responded to recent court proceedings concerning the status of 27 lawmakers in the Rivers State House of Assembly. The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Dagogo Iboroma, SAN, claimed that Martins Amaewhule and 26 other lawmakers, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), were no longer PDP members. Addressing the press, Iboroma emphasized that the recent judgment in SUIT NO DHC/20/CS/2024 did not declare the seats of these lawmakers vacant. He said, instead, the court struck out the suit for lack of locus standi and jurisdiction, and for being an abuse of court process. This outcome has been misrepresented in various media reports. Iboroma pointed out that Amaewhule and his colleagues’ defection to the APC on December 11, 2023, ws well-documented in affidavit evidence submitted in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/1681/CS/2023, currently pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja Division. ”By section 272(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it is only the Federal High Court that can determine whether Martins Amaewhule and 26 others are still members of Peoples Democratic Party and also members of the Rivers State House of Assembly. ”This much was held by the trial court. However, you will recall that this is a subsisting order of interlocutory injunction in Suit No. PHC/512/CS/2024 restraining Martins Amaewhule and his co-travellers from further parading or presenting themselves as lawmakers in Rivers State pending the determination of the substantive suit, which has not been appealed against to date,” he said.The Attorney-General urged the public to disregard misleading reports suggesting that Amaewhule and the other lawmakers remain members of the PDP and the House of Assembly.