The out-going Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Alhaji Abdul’aziz Yari, on Thursday said the increasing rate of unproductive population in the country constitutes a time bomb and must be addressed.
Yari, who is also the out-going governor of Zamfara, stated this during the valedictory session of the National Economic Council (NEC) held at the State House, Abuja on Thursday, NAN reports.
The governor who said: “We are sitting on a time bomb’’, however, stressed the need for urgent actions against the alarming increase in the number of unproductive population in the country.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to expand the economy by way of spending more on the nation’s agricultural sector to check the menace of youth redundancy in the country.
“I will say, yes, government has done tremendously well in terms of expanding the economy through agriculture by spending over N200 billion through the anchor borrower programme but we need to do more because we all agree that agriculture is the mainstay of this economy.
“It provides over 80 per cent of the employment. So, if two trillion naira can be spent yearly on oil development we need to increase our spending on agriculture too.
“With what we are seeing as governors especially from the zone where I come from, the rate of population growth, if nothing is done to address it, I am afraid Mr Chairman, we are sitting on a time bomb. And that’s the truth.
“Mr Chairman, we have a very gigantic job and we have to start now. If other associations are doing nothing, we have to lay a foundation otherwise in the next 10 to 15 years if we did not plan properly, we will be faced with a serious problem.
“I think even Niger Republic that is not up to the size of Kano State, they have their plan on the population; they know the number of people they have, the dead, new born and all. Mr Chairman, if Nigeria must move forward we must expand our economy,’’ he said.
On ways to boost the nation’s revenue base, Yari said that “proactive measures must be taken to ensure that some laws are repealed most especially the ones that have to do with NNPC, the issue of Offshore, Royalties Payment and other issues’’.
He advised that revenue generating agencies of the government should be given targets, saying “with my experience from 2011 to date I think we are just giving them free hand.
“We need to give them a kind of target even the NNPC itself. What the NNPC is spending especially when it comes to the issue of cash call, it’s in trillions but what comes into the basket for two hundred million people to share is very meager’’.
Yari, who officially introduced the Chairman-elect of the forum, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, thanked his colleagues for giving him the opportunity to serve them in the last four years.
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, who spoke on behalf of governors from the South West at the event, described members of the council as the set of governors that the subsequent council should emulate, because of their team spirit.
He noted that they were able to talk freely and express themselves, without actually considering whether somebody was PDP or APC, saying their common objectives was the economic issues that pervaded the whole country.
He said: “Considering the fact that we all came in when we had a backlog of salaries, I want to congratulate us because when we came in almost about 27 states could not pay salaries.
“And then, two subsequent meetings led to Mr president giving us the intervention which also led to the clearing of the backlog.
“So, we like to say a big thank you to the president and vice-president for taking us through that resession.’’
Out-going Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo, who also spoke on behalf of South East governors , commended Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, for their passion and love for the country.
Okorocha, who lamented that he would be missing his colleagues, threw the venue of the meeting into loud laughter when he jokingly advised vice-president Osinbajo to always distance himself from Adams Oshiomhole and Nasir El-rufa’i.
Okorocha, who is believed to have `political misunderstanding’ with Oshiomhole jokingly said: “I feel like a member of the family when I look at my left and right, even the worst of them like the Oshiohmoles and El-Rufais even within this I still feel like member of the family.
“This people I mention, Mr chairman (Osinbajo) I do not know why you share one thing in common with them. May I request you henceforth to distance yourself from them.
“I will miss this chamber really and I don’t know where I will meet people like El-Rufai again to talk to.
“All my colleagues especially the outgoing ones have contributed a lot today to what we have as Nigeria.’’
The governor also advised the Council to set targets for state governors so as to encourage performance in states.
How Obaseki Paid ₦15 Billion To PDP For Guber Ticket — Ize-Iyamu
The All Progressives Congress (APC), gubernatorial candidate in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has accused the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki of bribing his way to emerge as the party’s flag bearer in the upcoming poll.
Ize-Iyamu alleged that Obaseki paid the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ₦15 billion to emerge as its governorship candidate.
He made the allegation in a statement signed by John Mayaki, his campaign Director of Communications.
The APC governorship candidate charged the state governor to explain to people of the state how he came about such a huge fund.
He also expressed optimism that he would defeat Obaseki at the poll on September 19.
“He is also yet to explain to the people of Edo State where he got the 15 billion Naira he paid the PDP tax-collectors to facilitate his imposition as the party’s emergency-hour candidate.”
“It is no surprise, given the nature of Obaseki’s administration and sharp practices of both governor and appointees that such an agency is missing in Edo State.”
Obaseki had emerged as PDP’s governorship candidate in Edo State after all aspirants stepped down for him.
Ondo APC Chairman Resigns, Dumps Party For PDP
The Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, Samuel Olorunwa Ajayi, resigned from his position as chairman yesterday July 10 and as well dumped the party for PDP.
This is coming about nearly two weeks away from the APC’s governorship primaries in the state.
The former chairman who tendered his resignation letter at the party’s secretariat, also revealed that he has decamped to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
It has been gathered that he is a close ally of the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, who recently dumped APC for PDP.
The ex chairman is at loggerheads with the incumbent governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu and has indicated interest to run against him in October.
“Igbo People Are Happy With Buhari, Will Continue To Support Him” — Arthur Eze
Billionaire oil magnate, Arthur Eze says Igbo people are happy with President Muhammadu Buhari and will continue to support his administration.
The notable philanthropist stated this on Wednesday at the inauguration of Zone 13 Nigeria Police Headquarters at Ukpo, in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State.
A visibly-elated Eze expressed delight that his hometown was chosen as the site for the police zonal headquarters, thanking the president and the police authorities.
“He is currently rehabilitating the Enugu-Onitsha highway, constructing the 2nd Niger Bridge and has approved this new police zone 13 for our people,” said Mr Eze, an indigene of Ukpo.
“We cannot thank him enough, and as a leader from the zone, I must say that we the Igbo people are happy with President Buhari and will continue to support his people-oriented programmes,’’ Eze said.
He later handed over the key of the complex to a representative of the Inspector-General of Police, saying that policemen deployed to the zone would have a fruitful working experience.
The newly-established Zone 13 is expected to cover three South-Eastern states – Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra.
While Ebonyi was previously under Zone 6 headquartered in Calabar, Enugu and Anambra were under Zone 9 with headquarters in Umuahia.
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