April 14, 2021
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) laments that the unabating misrule of the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) pushed Twitter to take its African Headquarters to Ghana instead of Nigeria, despite the fact that Nigeria has far more twitter traffic and more business prospects than Ghana.
The PDP says Twitter’s preference for Ghana over Nigeria was occasioned by inconsistent economic policies, obnoxious suppression of free speech, stifling of online freedom and open internet by the Buhari administration and the APC.
This is in addition to infrastructural decay, massive corruption and manifest failure of the Buhari Presidency and the APC to address the escalated insecurity brought upon our nation by their incompetent watch.
Indeed the decision by Twitter to by-pass Nigeria to locate its African operational base in Ghana is another sad commentary of how our nation, which was hitherto a global investment hub under the PDP, has now been so degraded in global economic competitiveness under the APC.
Nigerians were heavily despaired on Monday when the founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, announced that his company will be setting up its headquarters on the continent in Ghana despite Nigeria’s domineering twitter traffic in the sub region.
With an estimated 39.6 million twitter subscribers in Nigeria, which is bigger than the population of Ghana, Nigeria ought to be the destination, but for the anti-people policies of the APC administration.
It is sad that our nation has continued to lose huge foreign direct investments, which would have brought in more economic opportunities, especially for our youths, just because the Buhari Presidency and the APC lack the capacity to deliver on good governance.
The preference by Twitter for Ghana over Nigeria has further demonstrated that the Buhari administration’s claims on ease of doing business in Nigeria are mere media hypes.
Moreover, if President Buhari and the APC have the interest of the struggling youth demography of our nation at heart, they ought to have taken the necessary proactive steps to ensure that Twitter brought this huge investment to Nigeria, particularly given that we have the highest number of Twitter users on the continent.
It is indeed disturbing that the Buhari administration is taking no decisive steps to address the worsening situation in our country, which has become the world poverty capital under their watch.
The incompetence, insensitivity, corruption and laid-back attitude of the Buhari administration have continued to bring woes to our nation with an escalated 33% unemployment rate, closure of over 40 million hitherto vibrant businesses with millions of families now unable to afford the basic necessities of life.
It is painful that despite our national potentials, President Buhari administration has not shown the required commitment of engaging foreign investors and captains of industries to attract investments as being done by Presidents of other countries.
Instead the Buhari Presidency is only interested in accumulating foreign loans and mortgaging the future of our nation.
It has therefore becomes clearer that our nation cannot achieve any headway with the APC on the saddle.
The PDP therefore charges Nigerians to remain focused as we collectively rally on the opportunities granted by democracy to rescue our nation from the stranglehold of APC misrule.
National Publicity secretary
PRESIDENT BUHARI MOURNS FORMER MILITARY ADMINISTRATOR, COLONEL AHMED USMAN
President Muhammadu Buhari extends heartfelt condolences to the family of Colonel Ahmed Usman, former military administrator in Ondo and Oyo States.
President Buhari avers that as a military officer, the late Colonel Usman served the nation with courage and dedication, adding that his contributions to peace and unity as well as his quest for public good continued even in retirement.
As the President prays that Almighty Allah will repose the soul of the departed, his thoughts are with the government and people of Kogi State, where Usman hailed from, and with friends and colleagues, as they mourn this loss.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 14, 2021
CHIBOK GIRLS STILL ON OUR MINDS – PRESIDENCY
The Presidency reassures parents and all concerned citizens that the missing students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, remain constantly in the minds of government as they are always in the minds of their parents.
The Presidency gives assurances that the release of the remaining Chibok girls is still work in progress.
No one is giving up hope here. Efforts to secure their release through various channels and activities of the security and intelligence agencies remain on course. The recent decisive push by the military against the terrorists gives hope that a breakthrough is possible and could happen anytime soon.
The Presidency asks for support, understanding and prayers for the military as they discharge their historic mandate to quickly finish off the insurgency war and free all citizens held hostage.
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 14, 2021
OKPE LEADERS HEAD TO COURT
• WARN DETRACTOR
• ANNOUNCE DATE FOR OKPE UNION NATIONAL ELECTION
Respected leaders in Okpe Kingdom on Wednesday appealed to stakeholders to put the interest of the kingdom above their personal interests.
The leaders also said any act capable of jeopardizing unity and development should be avoided.
In a statement titled: ‘’There are no factions in the Okpe Union; interim impostors should be ignored’’, the leaders listed the strange Orodje of Okpe Interim Committee, as one of the problems in the kingdom.
The notable leaders called the actions of the Okpe monarch and members of the interim committee ‘’a threat to the unity and security of Okpe kingdom’’.
‘’It has come to the notice of the elected National leadership of the Okpe Union that some persons have been parading as interim leadership of our great Union and using the name of the Okpe Union to fleece unsuspecting personalities of Okpe extraction asking for financial support to execute bogus projects that are unknown and not approved by the Okpe Union. For some months now, the elected leadership led by Mr. Patrick Akpotor has exercised utmost restraint following entreaties by highly placed Okpe personalities who promised to intervene and call the usurpers to order’’.
The leaders accused some Sapele Okpe community members of trying to engineer a coup in the kingdom.
‘’In furtherance of their nefarious efforts to cause disaffection in the ranks of our branches and affiliates, the attention of NEC of the Okpe Union was drawn to the shocking viral broadcast by some leaders of the Sapele Okpe Community which purports to give credence to those claiming to be an interim leadership which is alien to the Okpe Union constitution’’
The Okpe Union leaders are heading to court as they seek to stop non-members and suspended individuals from parading as leaders of the ancient union.
‘’Okpe Union was established on May 16th 1930 and registered with the Colonial Government of Nigeria under the land (perpetual succession) Ordinance No. 32 of 1924, on the 13th of December, 1934. The second registered ethnic union in Nigeria is a member only organization which bars non-members from taking up any leadership position. Only a member of a branch of the Union who pay dues in accordance with the constitution of the Union can vote and vie for any of its leadership offices’’ a statement from the national leadership of the union said..
Signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Okpe Union, Mrs. Atarhe Abuh, the union said Prof. Emurobome Idolor and Prof. Kenneth Eni were suspended indefinitely by the General Assembly of the Union on grounds of anti-union activities.
‘’The nine persons parading themselves as interim EXCO of the Okpe Union have only two members of the Union, Prof. Emurobome Idolor and Prof. Kenneth Eni who have been suspended indefinitely by the General Assembly of the Union on grounds of anti-union activities. It is noteworthy that Prof. Kenneth Eni was the chairman of the Okpe Union Electoral Committee of the Okpe Union in 2016 that conducted the elections that brought into office the current outgoing National Executive Council of the Okpe Union. Before the expiration of the tenure, he joined hands with undemocratic forces in an attempt to derail and take over the leadership of the Union leading to his indefinite suspension’’.
Lawyers acting for Okpe Union will appear in court this week.
‘’ The national election of the Okpe Union is now slated for the 14th of May, 2021 in accordance with the provisions of the Okpe Union Constitution which does not recognize any external power to intervene in the governance or administration of the Union. The reason for the shifting of the date from the previous May 1st 2021 is to enable branches complete their input in the ongoing constitutional review’’ statement said.
The national leadership of the union called on members, branches and affiliates of the Union to continue preparation for the elections and ignore any distractions.
‘’The distractions are the handiwork of those who are not comfortable with the poise of the Union to speak for and protect the interests of the Okpe Nation. Like merchants of doom, they seem primed at executing an unpopular assignment whose only purpose is to destabilize and destroy the Okpe Nation. It is also clear that these individuals will stop at nothing to achieve the prebendal objectives of their paymasters’’.
The leadership also called on well-meaning Okpe personalities and office holders to use their good positions to call all those championing the so called interim leadership of the Okpe Union to order before it is too late.
‘’The NEC is resolved to safeguard the integrity of the Okpe Union and the Okpe Nation from these marauding beggars as the Okpe Union is not known for begging for alms from those it should demand stewardship and accountability from’’.
The statement further advised the good people of Okpe kingdom to ignore stories and statements to destroy the union.
‘’We pray that God grants us the ability to continue delivering on the vision and mandate handed to us by the founding fathers of the Okpe Union and who won accolades for resuscitating the Okpe monarchy of the Orodje, won several cases for the Okpe people, instituted a scholarship scheme which trained several Okpe overseas, organized Okpe people to contribute to the fund with which the modern Orodje’s Palace was built, and which continually held and projected the identity of the Okpe people’’.
CDWR CONDEMNS THE MASS SACK OF KADUNA STATE PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS BY GOVERNOR NASIR EL-RUFAI
KDSG Statement on disengagements in the public service
In September 2019, the Kaduna State Government became the first government in the country to pay the new minimum wage and consequential adjustments. The state government followed this up by increasing the minimum pension of persons on the defined benefits scheme to N30,000 monthly.
This step to advance the welfare of workers significantly increased the wage burden of the state government and immediately sapped up the funds of many local governments. While the Kaduna State Government believes that public sector wages overall are still relatively low, their current levels are obviously limited by the resources available to the government. What each public servant earns might be puny in comparison to private sector wages, but the total wage bill consumes much of the revenues of the state. The desire to pay more is a sentiment that must bow to the limits prescribed by the ability to pay.
Kaduna State public finances have been severely stretched by the higher wage bills at a time when revenues from the Federation Account allocations Committee (FAAC) have not increased. KDSG has made significant progress in increasing its collection of internally generated revenue (IGR). Without hiking tax rates, the state government has almost quadrupled IGR from about N13bn in 2015 to over N50bn in 2020.
What the Kaduna State Government receives from FAAC since the middle of 2020, like most other sub-nationals, can barely pay salaries and overheads. In November 2020, KDSG had only N162.9m left after paying salaries. That month, Kaduna State got N4.83bn from FAAC and paid N4.66bn as wages.
In the last six months, personnel costs have accounted for between 84.97% and 96.63% of FAAC transfers received by the Kaduna State Government. In March 2021, Kaduna State had only N321m left after settling personnel costs. That month, the state got N4.819bn from FAAC and paid out N4.498bn, representing 93% of the money received. This does not include standing orders for overheads, funding security operations, running costs of schools and hospitals, and other overhead costs that the state has to bear for the machinery of government to run, for which the state government taps into IGR earnings.
This Kaduna State Government was elected to develop the state, not just to pay the salaries of public servants. It was elected to promote equality of opportunity, to build and run schools and hospitals, upgrade infrastructure and make the state more secure and attractive to the private sector for jobs and investments. Under the leadership of Malam Nasir El-Rufai, the Kaduna State Government is faithfully implementing this mandate, amidst challenges and constraints.
The government is an institution organised to deliver public goods, not to minister solely to the interests of the persons employed to help deliver mandate. Therefore, the state government has no choice but to shed some weight and reduce the size of the public service. It is a painful but necessary step to take, for the sake of the majority of the people of this state. The public service of the state with less than 100,000 employees (and their families) cannot be consuming more than 90% of government resources, with little left to positively impact the lives of the more than 9 million that are not political appointees or civil servants. It is gross injustice for such a micro-minority to consume the majority of the resources of the State.
Measures taken to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic have shown clearly that the public service requires much fewer persons than it currently employs. The public service is an important institution, and it should therefore maintain only an optimum size. Faced with a difficult situation, the Kaduna State Government is persuaded that it cannot refuse to act or act in ways that only conduce to populist sentiment, without solving the fundamental problem. The redundancies to be declared will affect political appointees and civil servants, and its purpose is to save funds and ensure that a strong and efficient public service exists to use those resources to implement progressive programmes and projects for the people, and thereby develop the state.
While seeking the responsibility to lead Kaduna State during the 2015 elections, Malam Nasir El-Rufai ran on a manifesto that included a commitment to a strong public service. The Kaduna State Government has therefore made it clear that the progress and future of the state depends on a competent public service, lean in size but super-efficient in conceiving programmes and delivering services, savvy with modern technology and well connected to the public it serves. In pursuit of this goal, KDSG launched the public service reform and revitalisation programme in 2016.
This was in line with the Kaduna State Government’s announcement at inception in May 2015 that it is determined to eliminate waste and ensure that government resources serve a majority of citizens rather than the few persons working for government, including political appointees and other public servants.
Therefore, KDSG began conducting verification of civil servants in 2015 to help ensure the integrity of the government payroll and weed out ghost workers. This verification needed to be a continuous exercise, undertaken at intervals to check and maintain the integrity of the personnel records.
The state government also signalled its discomfort at the high recurrent costs of the state, which meant that most public funds went into paying the wages of less than 100,000 public servants in a state with close to 10m people. While affirming the principle that those who work must be paid, the state government also asserted its recognition of the obligation to ensure that the people of the state must also be served by their government.
As part of the 2016 public service reform process, KDSG also reviewed salaries and was ready to announce new wages before the FG announced in 2018 that it was initiating a new national minimum wage process. It was that early preparation that enabled the Kaduna State Government to promptly comply with the new national minimum wage before any other government could or did.
In these tough times, government cannot encourage the illusion that the public service can be immune from the measures required to cope with the reality of low revenues. The extent of these required actions is being worked out at the State and Local Government levels, based on very transparent and objective criteria across all the three branches of the Government. The stories circulating in the social media about pruning local government personnel to 50, converting junior staff to casual staff and the like are false and should therefore be disregarded. These false claims are a rehash of the contents of a forged letter that was circulated just prior to the 2019 elections. Each and every decision taken will be in full compliance with the Kaduna State Public Service Law and any regulations made pursuant thereto, and other extant laws.
Government realises that the disengagements may have short-term psychological and financial impacts on the persons to be affected. Therefore, KDSG will not only work with the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to expedite payments of any contributory pension benefits due to those so entitled to them but will also give preferential treatment to those disengaged that are willing to take advantage of the state government’s various agricultural and entrepreneurship development schemes. KDSG appeals for the understanding of everyone in Kaduna State and urges officers that may be affected to embrace alternatives in the private sector.
Special Adviser to the Governor (Media & Communication)
12th April 2021
NLC AND TUC MUST COMMENCE MOBILIZATION FOR MASS ACTIONS AND STRIKE ACTION AGAINST MASS SACKS AND ALL ANTI-LABOUR POLICIES
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has concluded plans to sack about 4,000 public sector workers claiming paucity of funds. These attacks on workers have been sustained since he became the governor of Kaduna State in 2015. Since Nasir El-Rufai sacked about 21,000 public sector workers in 2017, he has also placed an embargo on recruitment and restricted local government staff to a maximum of 50, placed compulsory retirement of workers who are 50 years and above and conversion of workers on Grade Level 01-06 to casual workers. Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) condemns these mass sack of workers and attacks on jobs in Kaduna state. These sacks are cruel, exploitative and inhuman.
There is no justification for this mass sack! The argument put forward by the Kaduna State Government as reasons for the mass sack is insincere and fraudulent. The only reason that can be responsible for paucity of fund if truly there is any, is the mismanagement of funds and the economy by past and present governments in the state. Notable among these are the monumental waste and corruption that is currently going on in government particularly in the area of unaccounted huge security votes were often drawn from the state fund, expensive contract system that sees projects being corruptly inflated and jumbo salaries and allowances for political office holders who often idle away and their pay is hundreds of times more than a skilled public sector worker.
CDWR challenges Nasir El-Rufai to open the books and financial records for public scrutiny. The public will want to know the true state of the finance and how public funds are being managed. We hereby demand a probe panel made up of elected workers and professionals to probe the finances and make its findings public.
The problem has been that these bourgeois elements particularly in a neo-colonial backward country like Nigeria are parasites who remain in government solely for the purpose of leeching on public resources. They sack workers and reduce public spending on social services in order to maintain the same opulent lifestyle and the same volume of loots whenever there is a decline in revenue. Besides, they do not see workers as an important aspect in the process of developing the economy because they lack the capacity to plan and sustainably grow and develop the economy to meet the needs of all. Workers are being sacked in a period when workers need an increase in wage to meet the rising cost of living.
These attacks are made possible because the leadership of trade union organisations, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the affected affiliates at the state and national level have failed to challenge these anti-poor policies in the public and private sectors. For instance, when Nasir El-Rufai brazenly sacked 21,000 in 2017, NLC and the TUC failed to challenge it in a concerted and determined manner. Except these attacks are resisted this time around, there is a danger that Nasir El-Rufai will be emboldened to carry out more attacks and these could motivate other state and local governments including the federal government to carry out more attacks on the working people and poor.
Already, over 16 state governments are yet to show any commitment towards the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage with growing casualization and loss of jobs in the private sector wherein thousands of workers have also been thrown out of jobs just to satisfy the profit greed of a few privileged and corrupt business owners. This happens without determined effort by the leadership of trade union organisations to challenge these anti-workers policies because of their strategic alliance with the bourgeois ruling elite and big business bosses.
CDWR frowns at this anti-labour collaborationist policy and calls on the national leadership of the NLC and TUC to begin the mobilization of workers in Kaduna state and across the country to resist all anti-labour actions and neo-liberal policies through mass protests, rallies, mass sensitization and general strike. Where the labour leaders in Kaduna State and elsewhere in the country fail to challenge these anti-poor policies, we call on activists and the rank and file workers to organize themselves to take actions.
Comrade Rufus Olusesan Comrade Chinedu Bosah
National Chairperson National Publicity Secretary