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2019: Nigerian Workers Should Bargain With N30,000 Minimum Wage – TMG

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A coalition of 400 civil rights organisations under the aegis of Transition Monitoring Group has expressed concern over the irregular payment of salaries by state governments, describing it as “a recipe to vote-buying and threat to free and fair elections in 2019.”

While advising Nigerian workers to use the N30,000 national minimum wage as a bargaining tool for the 2019 general elections, it said any public servant who could not pay workers should have no business in governance.

The chairman of TMG, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, stated this in an interview with THE PUNCH, on Friday in Abuja, during the opening ceremony of a two-day dialogue session on citizens’ charter of demands.

According to her, independent findings by TMG across the 36 states have revealed that the welfare of Nigerian workers, poor health and education were common denominators affecting the average worker.

The programme was also aimed at setting agenda for political parties and candidates standing for election in 2019.

She said, “The dialogue is part of the meeting we are having from zone to zone to get the views of Nigerians on what they expect from people who are contesting the 2019 general elections. We are developing the citizens’ charter for the 36 states in Nigeria and we are having the seven states in the North West together in Abuja.

“One of the issues we realised among the states visited by TMG is that in all of the states, they are a critical mass and any candidate who wants a free and fair election should contend with the workers. So, we feel that any public servant who cannot pay workers should have no business in governance.

“That is the truth of the matter because the reason why general hospitals are dying and education collapsing are that workers are not being adequately supported by the government. What is N18,000 minimum wage? How can workers be collecting less than $50 for one month and most of these people have an average of four children. It will be irresponsible for any government not to prioritise the welfare of workers.”

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Group Berates Ayeni Over Calumny Campaign Against Okunbo

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A group, National Youth Alliance of Nigeria (NYAN), has berated businessman, Dr. Olatunde Ayeni, over what it called his “campaign of calumny” against the chairman of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMS), Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo.

NYAN said Ayeni, a former director and shareholder of OMS, contacted the group for a hatchet job against the person and business interests of Capt. Okunbo, especially the OMS.

National President of NYAN, Lucky Igbamodi, told journalists at a press conference that the group was hired to launch scathing campaigns against Capt. Okunbo in order to malign him through fictitious petitions and peddling of outright falsehoods.

Igbamodi said NYAN subsequently carried out its own investigation and found out that all allegations against Capt. Okunbo and OMS were untrue as they were fabricated for sinister motives by Ayeni.

“Making our stand public becomes necessary now lest the unsuspecting members of the public be misled about the real issues. Dr. Olatunde Ayeni mistook our group for agents of destruction for hire and we listened to him and carried our own investigations to ascertain the truth.

“We found out several things which point to a documented fact and established truth – that Dr. Olatunde Ayeni has since 2018 left the Board of OMS and as well sold his shares to Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo but only returns to launch a campaign of calumny against the latter just because Capt. Okunbo has a health challenge.

“Nigerians and non-governmental organisations should be wary of Dr. Olatunde Ayeni’s antics, which are all in bad faith and unbecoming of a businessman he claims to be,” Igbamodi added.

While wishing Capt. Okunbo quick recovery, the group admonished the Board of OMS to continue to support Okunbo and always stand by the truth as it has demonstrated so far.

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Apologise To Abia Gov Or Face Recall, Kogi West Youths Tell Adeyemi

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A group called Concerned Kogi West Youths has called on the Senator representing Kogi West, Smart Adeyemi, to immediately apologise to Abia State governor, Victor Ikpeazu, over his uncomplimentary comment on the latter or face recall from the Senate.

A statement issued by the group and signed Mr Michael Oluwaseun Bolorunduro on Monday said Senator Adeyemi must apologise to the Abia governor and the people of Abia State within seven days or be ready for the consequence.

The youths, however, apologised on behalf of the Kogi West people to Governor Ikpeazu for the “behaviour” of Senator Adeyemi on the floor of the Senate during a debate on the Safe School Initiative agaisnt the backdrop of incessant attacks on schools by bandits in the North last week.

“We the concerned Kogi West Youth are writing to apologise for the behaviour of the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Smart Adeyemi, recently on the floor of the Hallowed Chamber.

“It took us this long to react or respond to his ungentlemanly attitude because the character trait that he displayed is alien to our culture in Kogi West. We tried to know reasons for such reactions and alas, we couldn’t find any justifiable and sensible reason for such.

“We, too, were personally shocked and offended by his actions and utterances which were a direct contravention of the values of dignity and good mannerism that we teach in our locality.

“We all know that emotions can get heated, but it does not excuse the language and behavior of our representative,” the group said.

They added that they as “wise constituents” have decided “to right the wrong of the malady and public show of shame as displayed by Senator Smart Adeyemi” to apologise and as well demand apology from Adeyemi.

“It is on this note that we demand that Senator Smart Adeyemi within seven days apologise at the same Hallowed Chamber of the Senate for his uncontrollable utterances against the governor and people of Abia State or face recal,” Bolorunduro declared.

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North – East: Group Scores NEDC High On Good Governance Index, Accountability

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The North East Development Commission (NEDC) has been rated high for entrenching transparency, good governance and accountability in its operations.

The National Accountability Watch Group (NAWG) said it came to this conclusion after a strategic assessment of NEDC’s operations.

In an interim report signed by its Executive Director, Dr Okpe Joseph Okpe, on Monday, the group lauded managing director, Mohammed Alkali for ensuring that the commission fulfils its madate to Nigerians.

Among others, the NAWG noted that under Alkali, the agency has achieved quality leadership, impacted the economy, formulated and implemented programmes and focused on relevant interventions.

Established in 2019, the commission was given the task of  assessing, coordinating, harmonizing, reporting as well as implementing all intervention programmes in the North-East region.

And according to the group, the Alkali-led agency has so far exceeded its mandate, ensuring that the reconstruction and development of the economy of the region remains a top priority.

The NAWG further applauded the  management of the NEDC for displaying unalloyed commitment towards fulfilling the mandate of the NEDC in ways too numerous.

The National Accountability Watch Group, however, urged all relevant stakeholders to extend support to the NEDC in critical areas of intervention.

Read full report below:

Introduction:

The impact of the Boko Haram insurgency in North-East Nigeria has had negative consequences on the social and economic life in the region. Hundreds of thousands have been killed and properties worth billions of Naira destroyed. The question thus was how to mitigate the impact of the insurgency and this consequently led to the establishment of the North East Development Commission to lead the reconstruction and development of Nigeria’s northeast.

It is also charged with the responsibility to assess, coordinate, harmonize and report on all intervention programs, and initiatives by the Federal Government or any of its Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), States; and other Development Partners and for the implementation of all programs and initiatives for the North East states; Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, respectively.

Since 2019 when the North East Development Commission commenced operations, it has been reported in some quarters that the NEDC has been proactive in addressing the issues in North-East Nigeria, while in some quarters, it was also stated that the NEDC has not lived up to expectation.

Thus the need to interrogate the operations of the NEDC prompted the National Accountability Watch Group to undertake a strategic assessment study on the operations of the NEDC from 2019 till date towards putting issues in proper perspectives with regards to fulfilling its mandate of leading the reconstruction and development of North-East Nigeria.

Governance Indices:

The assessment dwelled on six governance indicators:

Quality of Leadership

Impact on the economy of North-East Nigeria

Programmes formulation and implementation

Transparency and accountability

Relevance of interventions

Blueprint for development

Quality of Leadership:

The National Accountability Watch Group examined the quality of leadership provided by the NEDC management team led by the managing director, Mohammed Alkali. It also scrutinized the leadership drive by the management team towards achieving the strategic mandate of the NEDC.

After extensive assessment, it was discovered that the management team of the NEDC led by its managing director, Mohammed Alkali has been outstanding in the discharge of their responsibilities. The composition of the management team speaks volumes of round pegs in round holes and this has translated to the entrenchment of synergy amongst the various departments at the NEDC.

An extensive study of the leadership provided by the NEDC over the two-year period it has been in operation speaks volumes of a management team with eyes on the ball in delivering the mandate of the commission towards addressing the developmental challenges in North-East Nigeria occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency.

It was also discovered that the management team of the NEDC consist of individuals that are passionate about service and this much has been seen in the work ethics, programmes formulation, and implementation at the NEDC.

The managing director, Mohammed Alkali has been reputed to have been providing sound leadership direction for the NEDC through the introduction and implementation of sound programmes that have been impactful on the socio-economic life of North-East Nigeria.

Impact on the economy of North-East Nigeria

The impact of the various intervention of the NEDC in North-East Nigeria was assessed using key indicators on governance. It was realized that in two years the NEDC has been impactful in the economy of North-East Nigeria, which has received commendations from wide and far.

An example of the impact on the NEDC in the economy of North-East Nigeria is the setting up of an Education Endowment Fund worth N6billion aimed at resuscitating the region’s devastating education sector and rebuild human capital.

The Fund provides an avenue for the engagement of over 20,000 beneficiaries across the region annually. The fund provides scholarships and training while also building infrastructures in the sector. It was discovered that under this initiative hundreds of thousands have benefited and are making the required impact in North-East Nigeria. This is amongst a host of other notable interventions.

It was also discovered that the NEDC has also assisted tremendously in the resettlement of displaced persons back to their communities through the creation and provision of basic amenities required for normal life in communities that were affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Programmes formulation and implementation

The various programmes formulated by the NEDC were also scrutinized. It was discovered that the NEDC has instituted various programmes that are suited to bring about meaningful development in North-East Nigeria. This much are visible various infrastructural developments with the NEDC imprints that dot the nook and crannies of North-East Nigeria.

The NEDC has also been credited to have introduced programmes with a direct impact on the lives of citizens of North-East Nigeria, and this has largely contributed to the reconstruction efforts in the region.

The NEDC also launched the first phase of Mine Risk Awareness Training under the NEDC Mines Risk Education Project for Local Government Areas in the Northeast. It was also discovered that the NEDC also has in place an ICT resource training programme for youths from states in North-East Nigeria, which has been impactful and given the youths a new lease of life. This is aside from other programmes that have been introduced that have made a meaningful impact in North-East Nigeria.

The NEDC also initiated programmes that mitigated the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic in states in North-East Nigeria.

Transparency and accountability:

In assessing the impact of the NEDC in North-East Nigeria, it was discovered that there has been an entrenchment of transparency and accountability in its operations. This much was evident in the implementation of policies and programmes across the states in North-East Nigeria.

This has also led to the effective utilization of resources in the even distribution of available resources amongst the various states in North-East Nigeria in terms of infrastructural development and provision of humanitarian support to affected communities in North-East Nigeria. There is also a regime of probity in the implementation of the various programmes initiated by the NEDC in North-East Nigeria.

Relevance of interventions

The relevance of the various interventions of the programmes of the NEDC in North-East Nigeria has been acknowledged by stakeholders in North-East Nigeria. The assessment of the various interventions revealed that the NEDC did understudy the immediate, short-term, and long-term needs of the region and consequently introduced interventions that have had a meaningful impact on the socio-economic life in North-East Nigeria.

Blueprint for development

The blueprint for the reconstruction and development of North-East Nigeria by the NEDC speaks volumes of its strategic mandate of leading the reconstruction and development of Nigeria’s northeast. This has made great strides in retaking and stabilizing large portions of the North-East.

Conclusion:

The National Accountability Watch Group as a result of this strategic assessment of the operations of the NEDC since incorporations concludes that the NEDC management led by the managing director has lived up to expectations within a short period through the entrenchment of transparency and accountability in its operations. This is indeed laudable and we wish to state that with the programmes and policies of the NEDC, the task of reconstructing and developing the economy of North-East Nigeria remains a top priority of NEDC.

The management of the NEDC has displayed an unalloyed commitment towards fulfilling the mandate of the NEDC in ways too numerous to mention.

Recommendation:

The National Accountability Watch Group as a result of the above stated recommends the following towards boosting the operations of the NEDC: That the relevant stakeholders in North-East Nigeria must extend their support to the NEDC management in critical areas of intervention

That the NEDC management must ensure that it introduces policies that have short, medium, and long term impact in North-East Nigeria

That the NEDC management must continue to engage the media constituency in projecting its various interventionist programmes in North-East Nigeria.

That the political leadership in states in North-East Nigeria must see the NEDC as worthy partners rather than rivals

That the NEDC must not lose sight of the bigger picture in ensuring it continues to churn our programmes and policies that address the needs of North-East Nigeria towards achieving its strategic action plan for the reconstruction and development of the economy of North-East Nigeria.

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