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Budget of Progress and Development! Inside Gov Ambode’s N1.046Trn 2018 Budget

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Akinwunmi Ambode,of Lagos state,on Monday presented the Year 2018 Budget proposal of N1.046trillion to the House of Assembly, with a pledge that his administration will make every effort to complete all ongoing projects as well as initiate new ones to consolidate on the development recorded in the last 30 months. Governor Ambode, who christened the 2018 Budget as “Budget of Progress and Development”, said it would be used to consolidate on the achievements recorded in infrastructure, education, transportation/traffic management, security and health sectors. He said the Budget would also focus on mandatory capacity building for civil servants, all teachers in public secondary/primary schools, officers in the health service sector and women & youth empowerment alongside Medium and Small/Micro Size Entrepreneurs (MSMSE’s). Outlining the key components of the budget, Governor Ambode said capital expenditure would gulp N699.082billion while N347.039billion would be dedicated to recurrent expenditure, representing a Capital/Recurrent ratio of 67 percent to 33 percent and a 28.67 percent increase over Y2017 budget. The Governor said that despite the modest achievements recorded in 2017, there was still much work ahead, assuring that Government would not relent in its efforts to give Lagosians the best by way of continuous and efficient service delivery. “Lagos has always been a trailblazer and we must consolidate on the economic gains made so far by initiating people-friendly programmes and projects that will attract more economic improvement in Y2018. “It is our resolve in Y2018 to strive and complete all on-going projects in order to meet their specified completion period and embark on new strategic projects. We intend to improve on our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the face of the dwindling accruable revenue allocation from the Federal Government, sustain our vision on wealth creation and poverty alleviation,” Governor Ambode said. The Governor also listed key projects captured in the 2018 Budget to include the Agege Pen Cinema flyover; alternative routes through Oke-Ira in Eti-Osa to Epe-Lekki Expressway; the 8km regional road to serve as alternative route to connect Victoria Garden City (VGC) with Freedom Road in Lekki Phase I; completion of the on-going reconstruction of Oshodi International Airport Road into a 10-lane road and the BRT Lane from Oshodi to Abule-Egba. On infrastructural renewal, Governor Ambode said his administration remains committed to sustaining the tempo of continuous construction, rehabilitation, upgrading and maintenance of network of roads across the State including those within the boundary areas of Lagos and Ogun States and that the bus reform initiative would be consolidated with the introduction of high and medium capacity buses, construction and completion of bus depots at Oshodi, Anthony, Yaba and many others. He also said the movement of Mile 12 market to Imota had reached an advanced stage and would be completed in good time to pave way for relocation next year, while the 181 Local Government Roads will be commenced as contractors will be mobilized immediately, as well as continuous gridlock resolution, junction improvement, construction of more laybys and advancement of signalization that will improve traffic congestion especially along the Lekki-Epe corridor. In the area of job creation, Governor Ambode said the Government would construct an ICT Focus Incubator Centre in Yaba, commence the development of Imota and Igbonla Light Industrial Park as well as the provision of additional small scale industrial estate at Shala, while the State Employment Trust Fund will disburse more funds to Lagosians to support business and stimulate the economy. Governor Ambode also assured that his administration will vigorously pursue its planned direct intervention in the power value chain towards generating 3,000MW Embedded Power Programme within a three-year plan to achieving 24/7 power supply for the State, stressing that the challenge of inadequate power supply must be resolved for the economy to perform optimally. He said within the 2018 fiscal year, the Government would continue to rekindle its efforts in the area of Tourism, Sports, Arts and Culture as well as embark on some major projects that would ensure that the State emerges as the hub for tourism, sports and entertainment. He listed some of the projects to include completion of the five new Art Theatres; establish a Heritage Centre at the former Federal Presidential State House recently handed over to the State Government; build a world class museum between the former Presidential Lodge and the State House, Marina; fast-track construction of the proposed four new stadia in Igbogbo, Epe, Badagry and Ajeromi Ifelodun (Ajegunle) and complete the on-going Epe and Badagry Marina projects. On Housing, Governor Ambode said that all on-going projects especially those at Gbagada, Igbogbo, Iponri, Igando, Omole Phase I, Sangotedo and Ajara-Badagry would be completed for delivery under the Rent-to-Own policy. While acknowledging the cooperation and support received from Lagosians, members of the Business Community, Professional Bodies, Non-governmental Organizations and the State Civil Servants in years past, the Governor noted that the modest achievements by his administration within a short period couldn’t have been possible without residents who have been paying their taxes willingly and faithfully. Besides, Governor Ambode urged residents to embrace the Public Utility Levy as the Cleaner Lagos Initiative aimed at ensuring a cleaner and healthier environment would commence in 2018. Governor Ambode also commended members of the House of Assembly for their selfless service and support, saying that they have proven themselves to be dynamic and robust lawmakers and partners in progress. Giving a sectoral breakdown at a press briefing in Alausa, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade said General Public Services got N171,623bn, representing 16.41 percent; Public Order and Safety, N46.612bn, representing 4.46; Economic Affairs, N473,866bn, 45.30 percent; Environmental Protection, N54,582bn, representing 5.22percent while Housing and Community Amenities got N59,904bn, representing 5.73 percent. Ashade also told journalists that Health sector got N92.676billion, representing 8.86percent; Recreation, Culture and Religion got N12.511billion, representing 1.20 percent; Education got N126.302billion representing 12.07percent, while Social Protection got N8.042billion representing 0.77percent. Receiving the budget, Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon Mudashiru Obasa commended Governor Ambode for faithfully executing the year 2017 budget, saying the positive impact of such had been felt across the State with various projects such as the Abule Egba, Ajah and Pen Cinema Flyovers, among other numerous projects in various sectors. Obasa, who specifically lauded the fact that the 2018 budget estimate had provision for continuous infrastructural development in various sectors such as transport, security, environment, housing, health and capacity building for all public servants including teachers and health workers, however assured that the House would scrutinize it and ensure that the budget delivered on its promises to stimulate the economy of the State by focusing on infrastructure development, delivering inclusive growth and prioritizing the welfare of all Lagosians. The event was attended by dignitaries in the State including members of the State Executive Council led by the Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Adebule, former Speakers of the Lagos State House of Assembly, members of the National Assembly from Lagos State, former Deputy Governors of the State, party chieftains, traditional rulers, religious leaders, among others.

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NEWS

Kano Assembly sets up panel to probe bribery allegations against Gov. Ganduje

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The Kano house of assembly has set up a panel to investigate the bribery allegation against Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of the state, according to DAILY NIGERIAN.

In a video trending online, Ganduje was seen collecting bundles of dollars and putting them into his white dress known as ‘babanriga’ in the northern part of Nigeria.

The video has generated a lot of reactions from Nigerians, with some saying it is a dent on President Muhammadu Buhari’s corruption agenda since the governor is a member of the ruling party.

Raising a motion on Monday, Labaran Madari, a member representing Warawa constituency, said the assembly should investigate the authenticity of the video and take necessary actions.

Madari said the videos had brought the institution of governance in the state to disrepute.

The matter was seconded by Baffa Dan’Agundi, a member representing Kano municipal.

Alhassan Rurum, speaker of the house, therefore, constituted a seven-man committee to investigate the matter and report back to the assembly.

Members of the committee include Baffa Dan’Agundi, Labaran Madari, Garba Gafasa, Zubairu Masu, Ayuba Labaran, Abubakar Galadima, Garba Yau Gwarmai and Mujtafa Amin.

Sources were quoted as saying the assembly is planning to serve the governor impeachment notice as soon as the committee submits its report.

“This is a serious matter that should not be swept under the carpet. We did preliminary investigation and found out the videos are genuine. The committee is just mere formality,” said a member who was said to have preferred anonymity.

“The governor confessed to some of us that it was real but he is now trying to stop us from exercising our constitutional duty.”

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INVESTIGATION

Rivers APC Guber candidate, Tonye Cole reportedly skipped NYSC, omits degrees in nomination forms

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The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, is in trouble for skipping the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, the NEXT EDITION has found out.

Sources close to the stylish businessman-turned-politician said he is struggling to get the NYSC to help him out with the problem.

The Lagos-based billionaire emerged APC’s gubernatorial candidate for 2019 during the party’s primary in Port Harcourt on October 1.

Lawal Isa, Chairman, Rivers State APC Governorship Primary Election Committee, had said Mr. Cole got 3,329 votes to beat other aspirants.

According to him, Dawari George, a former aide to Rotimi Amaechi, scored 491 votes to come a distant second.

Dumo Lulu-Briggs, another business mogul who stood the election, secured 38 votes while a serving Senator, Magnus Abe, got a single vote.

Mr. Abe was the only person who voted for himself in the primary that was attended by no fewer than 4000 delegates.

But weeks after the primary was conducted and won, Mr. Cole is yet to name his running mate, situation observers blamed on the fear he might be disqualified after all.

This newspaper found out Mr. Cole deliberately omitted his tertiary education qualifications in the nomination forms he submitted to his party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Under academic records, Mr. Cole indicated he attended Corona School, Victoria Island, Lagos from 1973-1978 and King’s College, Lagos, between 1978 -1983.

This shows in spite of his rich educational background, he only filed his primary school leaving certificate and the ordinary level West African Examination Council General Certificate of Education he obtained in June 1983 from the King’s College.

Apart from the WASCE, Mr. Cole also attached a testimonial from King’s College which showed he was born on January 11, 1967, and had attended the institution from Form One to Five.

With registration number 4107, he was a member of Mckee Wright House as well as the Literary and Debating Club.

The principal of the school at the time, Olapeju Oladele, indicated he held no leadership position but indicated he had a promising career.

“He has very strong personality traits and was well-behaved,” under behavioural traits.

However, under general remarks, Mr. Oladele wrote, “Patrick was a very promising student who has high potential to succeed in his chosen career.”

Based on his WASC attached to his nomination forms, Mr. Cole had credit (4) in English Language, good (3) in Geography, credit (4) in Economic and credit (6) in Mathematics.

Others include Physics – pass (7), Biology – credit (5), Art –credit (5) and Technical Drawing –pass (7).

With only WASC and a testimonial from King’s College attached to his forms, it seemed Mr. Cole, for some undisclosed reasons, deliberately omitted his degrees as contained in his public profiles.

While he failed to indicate his tertiary education qualifications, the APC candidate sumptuously showcased the training he has attended across the globe and the many papers he has presented and positions he has occupied.

But findings by this newspaper showed Mr. Cole went straight to King’s School, Ely, Cambridgeshire, the United Kingdom after he left King’s College, Lagos at age 16.

He is also said to be an alumnus of the University of Lagos and Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil, where he was graduated with merit honours in Architecture.

Curiously, information regarding his tertiary education and the record of his compulsory NYSC participation are all absent in the document he filed with his party and INEC.

 

Given his family background and the age he completed his primary and secondary education, it is very clear Mr. Cole got his first degree before he was 23.

The one-year service, organised by NYSC is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age.

Apart from being a prerequisite for obtaining government and private sector jobs in Nigeria, the NYSC Act prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates.

For instance, eligible persons, who skipped the scheme, are liable to be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2, 000 fine, based on Section 13 of the NYSC law.

In Section 13 (3) of the Act, a three-year jail term or option of N5,000 fine is prescribed for anyone who contravenes the provisions of the law.

Subsection 4 of the same section also criminalises giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate.

It provides for up to a three-year jail term for such offenders.

NEXT EDITION made several attempts within the last two weeks to speak with Mr. Cole on the issue but failed.

The APC chieftain would not pick calls or respond to text messages from this newspaper.

However, when contacted, on one of his allies, Tonye Princewill, said Mr. Cole could not speak on the issue because the party was yet to set up a campaign structure for the 2019 polls.

All of Mr. Cole’s public profiles show he had tertiary education in Nigeria and in Brazil but none indicates the dates of his graduation.

NEXT EDITION could not also extract any record of where he served in any of such profiles, some of which have been edited recently.

Attempts to speak with the NYSC spokesperson, Adenike Adeyemi, failed as her line was unreachable and text message to her phone was not replied.

But a senior staff of the scheme, who could not be named because he is not authorised to speak on the matter said the NYSC has no record Mr. Cole served or was offered an exemption.

 

*Culled from THE NEXT EDITION

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NEWS

2019: Atiku picks Peter Obi as running mate

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The Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Friday picked former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, as his running mate in the 2019 general elections.

This newspaper gathered that Mr Atiku made the choice after narrowing his search for running mate to a politician from the South East.

On Wednesday, ThisDay reported that at least three technocrats and two politicians have been penciled down for the position.

The technocrats include: former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Charles Soludo; former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina; and former Managing Director of Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, Chike Obi.

The politicians are: former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

The PDP hierarchy are still undecided between the South-West and South-East, on the zone the position should be allotted.

Both zones were believed to have helped Atiku neutralise the Northern zones’ delegates’ votes that went to Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, during the presidential primary on Saturday.

More details soon..

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