By Dipo Olowookere
Federal Government has finally given an approval to the Lagos State government to reconstruct the Lagos International Airport Road, which the state government had longed for.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Tunji Bello, in a statement on Wednesday said Lagos State was given the permission to embark upon a total reconstruction of the road by the Acting President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, a former Commissioner of the state.
Before now, there were speculations that the state Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode; and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, the immediate past Governor of the state, were at loggerheads over this issue.
Recently, Mr Ambode publicly said it would have started works on the road from Oshodi, but that the Minister was dragging the approval.
This was immediately refuted by Mr Fashola, who explained that he was not the one frustrating the approval.
In the statement issued today, Mr Ambode thanked the Acting President for his statesman like approach and for fast tracking the process.
“We are very appreciative of the good gesture of His Excellency, the Acting President for acceding to our request which is not only very timely but a very heart-warming one. Posterity will never forget this genuine developmental action,” Governor Ambode was quoted to have said in the statement.
He also described the approval as a 50th birthday to the people of Lagos State, describing it a further demonstration of the determination of the present administration to ensure the effectiveness of the Executive Order on improving the Ease of Doing Business recently signed by the Acting President.
Governor Ambode also gave kudos to President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the enabling environment to attract Foreign Direct Investment into the nation, adding that with the upgrading of the International Airport Road which is the gateway to the nation’s commercial nerve centre, the country will attract new investments.
The Governor had in early March this year, raised an alarm about the present state of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, describing it as a national disgrace that required immediate attention to salvage the nation’s image.
He stated then that the State presently has a design for the reconstruction of the road as well as the funds to embark on the project but was yet to get the go ahead from the Federal Government.
In his words: “The road linking Oshodi to the International Airport, you would all agree with me is a national embarrassment. In the spirit of the regeneration and urbanisation that this administration has set out to achieve, we believe strongly that the image that is exhumed by the decadence of that road must be repaired and we took it upon ourselves to appropriate the 2017 budget that the House of Assembly should approve the total reconstruction of the Airport Road from Oshodi to the International Airport.
“The State currently has a design of 10 lanes to come from Oshodi to the International Airport with interchange and flyover that would drop you towards the Local Airport. The contractor is already set to go and everything as I said has been completed and we already have the cash, but alas we are having challenges with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. This is a Federal and not a State road. The Federal Ministry of Works believes that they should do the road, but they have not been able to do it all these years past.”
Governor Ambode had said if given the approval, his administration was ready to hit the ground running and begin construction of the Airport Road within two weeks and finish same within a period of six months.
Besides, the Governor also implored the Federal Government to avail the State of the N2billion appropriated for the Airport Road in the 2017 National Budget to carry out the project.
“I just want to appeal to the Federal Ministry of Works, to let go or reimburse us with whatever it is that they are owing us and even if they are not willing to pay us now, we have the money to do it. It is a national disgrace and we would not be part of it. We would like to do it as part of the celebration of Lagos at 50,” Governor Ambode had said then.
It would be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in its reaction said the delay in granting the request the of Lagos State was because the Memorandum conveying the request of Lagos State which was already before the Federal Executive Council has not reached completion stage.
“The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing Ministry has presented the Memorandum conveying the request of the Lagos State Government to the Federal Executive Council as was done with a similar request by the Kaduna State Government in 2016”.
“Due to the fact that TWO of the roads also connect Ogun State, the Federal Executive Council could not reach an immediate decision on them because it requested the input of the other State Government affected”, the federal ministry explained.
CNPP Accuses APC, PDP of Undermining Democratic Growth
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been accused of gradually undermining democratic growth by failing to live up to their democratic responsibility to the nation.
This allegation was made by the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) in a statement issued in Abuja by its Secretary-General, Mr Willy Ezugwu.
The group, which is the umbrella association of all registered political parties and political associations in the country, noted that the two political parties have continued on the part of impunity as a result of lack of internal party democracy and other cornerstones of democracy.
According to the CNPP, this has resulted in the emergence of factions and cliques in the parties after every election or party primary.
“Due to the continued indulgence in anti-democratic tendencies, internal democracy in Nigeria’s political parties has continued to nose-dive in the last 22 years of our democratic experiments.
“The two self-acclaimed biggest political parties in Nigeria, the APC and the PDP have continued to clench on practices that negate the core tenets of democracy globally, leading to stagnated growth of Nigeria’s democracy and the sustenance of bad governance at all levels of government.
“As a result of lack of interest in such cornerstones of democracy like freedom of speech and rights to hold a divergent opinion, inclusiveness and equality, citizenship, consent of the governed in decision making, and trampling on their rights to choose their leaders, among others, Nigerians have continued to wallow in wants and penury in the midst of plenty.
“This is why the two parties have continued to manipulate the country’s political space, exchanging members and elected officials who decamp at will and maintaining a high level of disregard to their own party’s constitution such that the courts have become the last resort for most aggrieved members who can afford the cost of litigation.
“The internal conflict resolution mechanisms in both political parties are either hijacked by competing godfathers or such mechanisms are comatose, merely existing in their party constitutions.
“As impunity has continued to thrive in the two political parties, the consequence is the unending emergence of factions and cliques of aggrieved members at the end of every internal election, including congresses and primary elections.
“Nigeria’s democracy cannot advance beyond where we are as the country will continue to recycle corrupt politicians and their cronies that end up impoverishing the populace. This will remain our experience if the bar of internal democracy and adherence to the cornerstones of democracy is not raised and given priority by the two dominant parties.
“We, therefore, challenge the APC and the PDP, as leading political parties, to live by the example of standards of democratic parties as we approach the 2023 general elections. This will not only deepen democracy in the country but also ensure that the people’s rights to choose their leaders within the parties and at general elections are upheld without manipulations, rigging or impositions,” the CNPP stated.
Osinbajo Lauds US Advocacy on Climate Change
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
Nigeria’s Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, has expressed gladness as the United States of America (USA) is fully back on board the climate change global agenda, in a commendable restoration of the US government’s support for the Paris Agreement.
Mr Osinbajo expressed this excitement when he received a delegation from the United States and discussed issues of interest to both countries on climate change action.
“We are happy that the US is fully on board with climate change and back to the table on this issue.
“I think one has to commend the drive that this U.S. administration has put behind climate change,” the Vice President noted.
It could be recalled that four years ago, the immediate past President of the US, Mr Donald Trump, withdrew his country from the Paris Agreement.
But the administration of Mr Joe Biden, on the assumption of office, announced the restoration of America’s commitment to the deal.
During the visit yesterday, Mr Osinbajo restated Nigeria’s position on a just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, ahead of the net-zero emissions 2050 target.
“We are concerned, amongst other things, first about some of what has been going on, especially around gas as an effective transition fuel, and how many of the Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and some countries are insisting that gas projects should be defunded.
“This is a principal concern to us; it is one that we have made central to our advocacy and it is one of the issues that we intend to promote at the COP26,” the VP noted.
He informed the US delegation of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, which is the first in Africa.
“We have done the costing for it and all of what is required to be able to hit net-zero by 2050. Also, what the implications would be, given the constraints there, and how realistic it would be to get to net-zero by 2050 or not,” he added.
According to Mr Osinbajo, Nigeria is looking forward to participating in the democracy summit to be hosted by US President Joe Biden later this year.
He noted that one of the things that have always been the topic in the country is how to ensure that illicit financial flows are discouraged.
He further stressed that the international monetary and financial systems have a role in stopping it.
“Looking at what happened in the last few years, we have received quite a bit of support from the U.S. government, especially in terms of the repatriation of several of the looted funds, and we hope to continue to get the cooperation of the US,” the respected lawyer said.
On behalf of the federal government, the VP also commended the US government for donating over 3.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria.
Eid-el-Maulud: Akande-Sadipe Sues for Peace in Nigeria
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Ms Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, has tasked Nigerians to pray for the peace and prosperity of the nation.
The lawmaker gave this charge in a statement issued by her Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Olamilekan Olusada, to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Maulud.
She urged the citizens of the Oluyole Federal Constituency, who she represents at the House of Representatives, and Nigerians home and in the diaspora to show love to one another regardless of political differences, ethnic, tribe, religious and cultural diversity and to promote peaceful coexistence as a nation.
“I rejoice with all Muslim brethren on the celebration of this year’s Eid Maulud and urge Nigerians to pray for peace and prosperity in the nation,” Ms Akande-Sadipe was quoted as saying in the statement.
“This is a celebration of the birth of our dear Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who demonstrated over his life, that we can co-exist and prosper through peace.
“To be a greater nation we need to follow the exemplary lifestyle of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and emulate the teachings and leadership qualities of the Holy Prophet, by a life of non-violence, love and harmony,” she further said.
“Nigeria needs to drive peace, stability and prosperity in sub-Saharan Africa. Without a peaceful, democratic and economically thriving Nigeria, it would be hard to get governance right in the region,” she added.
The lawmaker also revealed that Nigeria’s population is projected to surpass that of the United States by 2050, stressing that it will be impossible to co-exist as a nation of stability and prosperity without a peaceful, democratic and economically thriving Nigeria.
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