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Nigeria Needs New, Not Amended Constitution – Okowa



How I Survived Assassination Attempt - Okowa's Aide

What Nigeria needs is a new constitution and not an amended 1999 Constitution, according to Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

Okowa stated this when he received the Senate Sub-Committee on review of the 1999 Constitution led by Senator James Manager at Government House, Asaba, on Wednesday.

He said a new constitution for the country had become imperative in view of observed lacunas in the 1999 Constitution.
Okowa called for the insertion of a clause to allow for the re-writing of the constitution while it would continue to be in operation until a new one was ready.

“There is no doubt that there is still a lot to work on in our constitution to have a near perfect document, and I know that the National Assembly has continued over time, to cause some of the amendments to be.

“I thank God that those sent here are familiar with the zone; so, when the people truly speak they would understand.

“But, I also wish that some persons from other zones actually had the opportunity to come down here to hear the voices of our people directly because sometimes we do not understand the extent of the pains that people of the Niger Delta truly suffer in our nation.

“We believe in one federation; we believe in the unity of Nigeria, but we will continue to ask for very strong equity in our federation as a people and I know that the people will really voice out their opinion at the public hearing.

“We know that some amendments were made recently but on a general note, we are also aware that the constitution itself appears to have just been hurriedly put up just before the 1999 elections and handed over.

“I wish it was possible to start the whole process again and to re-write the constitution and also believe that there may be a need for us to look very closely on ways and means of re-writing the constitution as a new document even when the current constitution exists,” Okowa said.

He recalled that the process of reviewing the 1999 Constitution started in the 7th Assembly, but that it was not possible to push it forward because of certain disagreements at that time.

Reiterating the necessity of a new constitution for the country, he said, “If we look deeply as lawmakers we would be able to create a window for that purpose because every year or in every assembly, we continue to engage ourselves in one amendment or another.

“I think that it is possible to insert a clause that will enable us to truly rewrite the constitution while the current constitution may be operational until the new one is brought into force.

“In that case, we would not be struggling year-in-year-out trying to amend one clause or another because there are challenges when it comes to that.”

The governor urged the National Assembly to look into power devolution to the states, review of revenue allocation formula, oil derivation and state police in the amendment to enable the Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission to lay revenue allocation formula proposal directly before the lawmakers.

READ ALSO: Delta Yet To Receive Returned Ibori’s Loot – Okowa

“As a state, we believe that the way the federal structure is in terms of governance, the powers at the federal level or what you call the powers of the presidency are too weighted against the rest of the structures in the state or what you call the sub-national governments.

“We believe that the exclusive list ought not to be as it is, because there are many things in that place that could truly be in the concurrent list. This is because the sub-national governments are much closer to the people and understand truly the pains and needs of their people and they are more likely to effect development changes that will be impactful on their people,” he stated.

He regretted that no review had been made to the revenue allocation formula for the past 24 years whereas it was supposed to be reviewed every five years.

Okowa said oil-producing states had continued to struggle for the 13 per cent derivation fund, and remarked that oil was a wasting asset while the environment where it was being extracted had continued to be polluted and degraded.

“The 13 per cent is actually too low and we believe it should be reviewed to 50 per cent as it used to be in the past or allow the states to own the assets and pay tax to the centre as applicable in other climes.

“We are also fully aware that our country is going through tough times with the current insecurity pervading our nation.

“We believe in the Nigerian Police but to fully secure the land there is a need for states to have their own police and all the governors of this nation are in support of that.

“The Nigerian police have been stretched beyond limit and to complement the Federal Police Force there is need for the states to have their own police,” he added.

Earlier, Manager had said that the committee which comprised senators from Edo, Bayelsa and Delta were in the state to conduct a two-day public hearing on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

NHe said aside from the Spiritual Books, the Constitution was the most important book for any country.

Manager restated that Southern senators had endorsed all the resolutions made by the Southern Governors in the `Asaba Declaration’ of May 11.

“The amendment of the Constitution is not what can be done by the National Assembly alone, but it involves states’ Houses of Assembly and other stakeholders.

“The document is never a perfect one; therefore, amendments are inevitable from time to time and in tune with current realities.

“The public hearing will afford the committee the opportunity to hear from the people and collate their views for onward processing by the Senate,” he stated.


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NNPCL Board: Club 66 Idanre, Commends Tinubu On Akinyelure’s Appointment



Chief Pius Akinyelereu

A foremost club in Idanre, Ondo State, Club 66, has commended President Bola Tinubu for appointing its patron, Chief Pius Aknyelure, as chairman of the Board of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL).

The Club gave the commendation in a statement issued by its President, Dr Anthony Omolola, in Lagos, on Tuesday.

Club 66 Idanre, which described the appointee as a square peg in a square hold, said that he would bring his vast experience in the oil and gas industry spanning over 40 years to bear on the appointment, particularly in resolving some of the knotty issues faced by the NNPCL Board and the oil industry in general.

The Club said: “Chief Pius Akinyelure’s appointment as chairman of the NNPCL board no doubt marks a watershed.

“Akinyelure retired from Mobil Oil as Executive Director of Finance in 1997. Even before then, he had been a big player in the industry.

“The Club sincerely appreciates the president for finding our patron worthy of such a prestigious assignment.

“Before now, he was appointed into the Board by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

“Thereafter, he was reappointed by President Buhari in May 2020.

“He has been chairman and director of several companies, including Wema Bank, Credit A Bank Ltd, Odua Investment Ltd, Oluwa Glass Plc, Okitipupa Oil-Palm Plc, Odua Telecommunications Ltd, Cocoa Industry Nigeria Ltd, Hallmark Bank, and West African Portland Cement Plc. He is a philanthropist with unique contributions to several communities in Ondo State and Nigeria at large.

“The good people of Idanre extend felicitations to the president for his noble gesture.”

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Abiodun Approves Constituency Projects For 236 Councillors



Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has approved constituency projects for the 236 councillors in the state.

The approval, the governor said, was in fulfilment of his promise to ensure the councilors execute projects in their various constituencies as the closest to the people at the grassroot.

Prince Abiodun made this known at the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, when he received the jubilant councilors who were on ground to pass a vote of confidence in his administration and also thank him for paying their full furniture allowance.

Governor Abiodun, who recently approved the full payment of furniture allowance to the 236 councillors, also promised to ensure the continuous empowerment of the councillors.

“You have reminded me of my promise to you of your constituency project. Consider that done because you are the closest to the grassroot. You are the ones representing us at the grassroot. You will not be put to shame.

“I am a promise-keeping governor . Whatever promise I make to you, I will definitely keep it. I want to thank you for your very kind remarks for appreciating that I promised you I was going to pay your furniture allowances, and I remain the first governor that will pay furniture allowances to councillors 100%.

“I also promised that I was going to ensure you are sufficiently empowered. You are politicians. You must be empowered to continue to empower your various constituencies and I think I am trying,” he said.

Governor Abiodun also thanked the judiciary for upholding the rule of law and called on opposition members to stop running around to buy jugments and join his administration in moving the state to the next level.

The governor stated that Ogun State is currently the fastest growing economy in the country, even as he ascribed the success to the team, which shares the same vision with him.

He promised that his administration would spend the next three and half years building on the solid foundation laid in the first term, noting that no stone would be left unturned.

Governor Abiodun also urged the councilors to continue to be good ambassadors of the party at their various wards.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman, Ogun State Forum of Councillors, Hon. Olarenwaju Adeleye thanked the governor for approving and paying their full furniture allowance.

Adeleye also acknowledged Governor Abiodun for executing at least a project in each of the 236 wards of the state and commended him for not abandoning projects left unfinished by the immediate past administrations in the state.

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Ogun, Aviation Ministry, Others Meet Tuesday On Concessioning Gateway Agro-Cargo Airport



Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

The Ogun State Government, Federal Ministry of Aviation, and other stakeholders will, this week, meet on concessioning the Gateway Agro-Cargo International Airport.

The airport, located in the Iperu-Ilishan axis of the state, is nearing completion with aircraft already landing at the location.

The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun speaking on a Channels TV programme on Sunday evening, disclosed that efforts by the state government to recoup every penny expended on the airport would begin with the take-off of the concessioning agreement.

Prince Abiodun said that because of the world-class facilities available at the airport, the state government received many concessioning offers.

He said: “Returns on airport investments are not seen overnight. We have been receiving unsolicited offers from others who are desirous of consessioning this airport and paying us back everything the airport costs us.

“So, for us, our money has worked. We invested in building this airport to de-risk it because we realised that if we had gone ahead and advertised for others to come and build this airport for us, we probably would only have started building it at the end of our second term. So, we decided to bite the bullet. We invested. We have built that airport.

“Because of the standard that we have adhered to– we’ve built a world class airport here– we have now received unsolicited offers to concession the airport from us and I am happy to say that we have accepted one of those offers. By the grace of God, on Tuesday , we will be signing that concession. You will see the Minister of Aviation along with the heads of aviation parastatals signing with us to a third party who currently manages three other airports in Africa.

“And this third party would be paying the entire amount the airport has cost us. So, it would now be his responsibility to run this airport in line with the world best practices. He would be responsible for bringing in traffic to this airport, and I know that he is already speaking to some major cargo companies around the world. We’ve created this enabling facility. “They said you build a road that connects you from one point to the other, but when you build an airport, it takes you from one point to the rest of the world. And we think that with what we’ve done, we’ve opened Ogun State to the rest of the world.”

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