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Senate wades into abandoned Badagry-Sokoto Expressway project after Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi makes case for the project.



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The Senate has urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, initiate a Build-Operate-Transfer or Public-Private Partnership arrangement for the construction of the abandoned Badagry-Sokoto Expressway.

The call on the Federal Government was contained in a resolution reached by the Upper Chamber on Wednesday after consideration of a motion titled: “Need for the construction of the Badagry/Sokoto Expressway to promote economic growth and development.”

The motion which was sponsored by Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC, Kwara North), was Co-sponsored by the Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North) and six other lawmakers.

They are: Sani Mohammed Musa (Niger East); Bello Mandiya (Katsina South); Yahaya Ibrahim Oloriegbe, (Kwara Central); Oyelola Yisa Ashiru (Kwara South); Tolulope Akinremi Odebiyi (Ogun West); and Ibikunle Oyelaja Amosun (Ogun Central).

In his presentation, Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar noted that the Badagry-Sokoto Expressway is a Federal Government road which connects twelve (12) states which include: Lagos/Badagry, Ogun/Agbara, Oyo/Abeokuta, Kwara, Niger, Kebbi and Sokoto State at the national level, with Benin, Togo and Niger at the International level, in addition to being the Nigeria section of the Trans-West Coastal Highway project to link 12 West African coastal nations.

The lawmaker recalled that the Badagry-Sokoto Expressway was initiated as part of 4th National Development Plan, which was commenced by the General Olusegun Obasanjo regime in 1978, but was abandoned in 1979 – Over 40 years now – after he handed over power to Alhaji Shehu Shagari.

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According to him, “the original conception of this expressway was a linkage road between the North and South Nigeria and some West African countries through Seme Border; to ease carriage of goods across the borders as it connects Apapa seaports and Seme land border as well as one of the largest industrial hubs in the country, the Agbara Industrial Estate.”

He further recalled that in 2009, “the Federal Government in collaboration with the Lagos State Government started the reconstruction and expansion of the Lagos-Badagry part of the Badagry-Sokoto expressway, from six (6) to ten (10) lanes, prompting economic development around the area, but the project was abandoned due to lack of fund, thereby affecting these economic activities negatively.”

The lawmaker added that in the same year, the Federal Government in collaboration with the Lagos State Government resumed the reconstruction of the Lagos-Badagry part of the Badagry-Sokoto expressway, adding that, “nothing is being done to construct the rest of the express way.”

Umar assured that “the road if constructed, will boost food and agricultural production and connect these rural communities to major urban corridors, a necessary condition for improved agriculture value chain.

“The connection to urban corridors will increase off season employment for rural youth and sustain youth employment and employability.”

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According to him, “the proximity to western neighbours of the country, will improve cross border market and international trade and help advance Nigeria’s commitment to regional and continental trade; as well as “add to the number of North South roads, enhance the durability of the roads, reduce distance and help integrate the western flack of the country into the national road structure with strong implication for national integration and development.”

Contributing, Senator Sani Musa said the road which links the Northern and Southern part of the country, “if constructed, would help free movement”, and “also sustain the lifespan of our roads that have become un-motorable.”

“I will want to use this opportunity also, to appeal to the Federal Government, to see how they can mitigate a build-operate-transfer methodology in this, because that road is economically viable.

“We can have investors that are ready to come and invest, to construct that link road between Badagry to Sokoto and then put a toll.

“It will create another economic zone for this country, looking at the fact that a lot of business will be coming in here”, the lawmaker said.

On his part, Senator Tolulope Odebiyi highlighted the numerous economic benefits accruable to the nation from the construction of the Badagry-Sokoto Expressway.

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He said: “Mr. President, let me give you some historical background on the road. If you are aware, at the tip of this road, you have Agbara Industrial Estate.

“This is an estate that consist of over hundred triple A Companies. We have Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Glaxo-Smith Klein, all these estates are located at the top of this express road.

“You also have the Opic Industrial Estate that is situated on over 8,000 hectares of land with so many industries. And it is interesting to note that when this express road was being constructed, that was why Agbara Industry was setup there, so that a lot of these industries can move their goods up north, and that was the whole plan before the road was abandoned.

“Mr. President, I think if there’s one road that this country needs to build, it is this Agbara-Sokoto express road.

“I think it is economically viable, it is a road that can even be tolled and give the country the return on investments.

“I think it’s a road that enables companies to take their goods all to the neighbouring countries, especially in light of the African Continental Agreement that we have also signed now.”

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Ex-Oyo deputy gov, Arapaja emerges PDP vice chairman in South-West




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The former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Taofeek Arapaja, on Monday emerged the Vice-Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West.

Arapaja, who is backed by the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde , scored 343 votes to defeat the party’s ex- chairman in the zone, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, who garnered 330 votes.

Olafeso is the candidate of former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, who on Monday acknowledged Makinde as PDP leader in the zone.


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Why APC Will lose 2023 presidential election – Progressive Governors’ Forum DG




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The Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Salihu Lukman, has advised the All Progressives Congress against having what he called “blind trust” in some of the leaders of the ruling party towards the 2023 general election.
Lukman warned that the APC may not be able to win the next presidential election or have its candidate to succeed the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The DG of PGF, in a statement issued on Monday and titled ‘Determining Factors for 2023 Contests in APC: Internal Contest and Inconvenient Reality,’ recalled how the ruling party lost governorship election in some states in the 2019 general elections, which he attributed to sabotage by APC leaders in the affected states.
Lukman, therefore, called for regulation of party leaders’ activities, saying there is a need to ensure that “appropriate conditions exist to regulate the conduct of political leaders especially elected representatives.”
He said, “Given that APC has become the go-to party in Nigerian politics, the need to regulate the conduct of party leaders is paramount. Inability to develop the capacity to regulate the conducts of party leaders will be injurious to the vision of developing the APC as a truly progressive party.
“As much as it is a welcome development that the party is winning new members, there must be corresponding effort to regulate the conduct of party leaders, based on which efforts are made to provide new orientation to all party leaders, especially the newcomers.
“Beyond the need to regulate the conduct of political leaders, there is also the need to appeal to leaders of the party to rise above the narrow attitude of relating with challenges based on estimation of support or opposition for ambitions of party leaders.
“Once political leaders are able to estimate support for their ambitions, what follows is blind trust for both officials of the party and decisions they take even when such decisions are wrong and contravenes provisions of the party’s constitution.”
The DG of PGF pointed out that the immediate past National Working Committee of the APC led by Adams Oshiomhole between 2018 and June 2020 “was a classic case of how many party leaders overlooked the obstinacies of some actions of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC.”
He stressed, “Had all leaders of the party been able to insist that Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC convened meetings of organs of the party where the required decision to resolve issues could have been taken, perhaps even Comrade Oshiomhole himself would have still remained as the National Chairman of the party.
“Unfortunately, factors of blind trust by many party leaders which produced inconsiderate tolerance for wrong actions became the case. The truth is also that Comrade Oshiomhole and many members of the dissolved NWC became emboldened by the awareness of a divided APC leadership.
“So long as APC leaders are divided, the potential that elected officials who will emerge in the reconstituted NWC will take advantage of such divisions to manipulate internal processes and in some cases, members of the new NWC may also become part of the problem of the party, in the same way that Comrade Oshiomhole led NWC was, if not worse.”
According to Lukman, part of the requirement for the APC to be able to retain the electoral advantage of Buhari is that “factors of blind trusts in the party must be eliminated.”
He stated that “no matter the estimation of support or opposition of members of the new NWC to the ambitions of leaders, APC leaders must have very high moral credentials such that when the NWC erred, they are not beyond correction; or at least, they should not be allowed to be emboldened by any division in the rank of leadership of the party to block interventions by statutory organs of the party to resolve problems.”
The DG of PGF added, “Similarly, members of the party must not relate with ambitions of party leaders based on blind trust. Members should be able to speak out and critically engage party leaders.
“While there is no guarantee that critical positions of party members will not become the source of disqualification for consideration to appointive and elective positions, it is important that it is recognised that no matter what, it is better to be members of a party in power working to develop Nigeria than to be governed by any party whose mission is adversative to Nigeria’s development.
“The other related issue is that when all leaders of the party relate with elected representatives based on demands for appointive positions in whatever form, it also weakens the capacity of party leaders to influence the initiatives of elected representatives.
“Part of it also is that once leaders prioritise issues of securing appointments as the basis of relationship with elected representatives, rather than acting as sources of support for elected leaders, they become sources of distraction. This is dynamic, which played out in APC in 2015. Moving towards 2023, this needs to be rectified.”
According to Lukman, an “inconvenient reality” which every APC leader and member who is committed and working towards protecting the electoral viability of the party should be worried about is that the strongest opponent of the APC is within the APC.
He stated, “The truth is; other parties, especially the PDP, are shadow opposition whose electoral prospects are largely dependent on the outcome of internal contests in the APC, mainly because of the reckless and undisciplined conducts of some APC leaders.
“If anything, the lesson from the 2019 elections, which every APC leader and member should be reminded of is that APC was defeated in Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo and many other places by aggrieved APC leaders who worked against candidates or leaders of the party as a result of internal disagreements around candidate selections for governorship of these states.
“Such internal disagreement almost cost the party the loss of Imo State until the Supreme Court confirmed the victory of the APC. In Ogun, it was a traumatic victory. Kano State governorship election certainly had its baggage of painful experiences. Lagos State was a shocking narrow victory, no thanks to avoidable challenges. Rambo political contest led to the loss of Edo State in the 2020 governorship election.”
The DG of PGF also said APC leaders should also be reminded that it was “internal rancorous contest” that caused APC to lose the 2014 Ekiti governorship election. He added that a similar rancorous contest produced marginal victory for the APC in the Ekiti and Osun elections in 2018.
According to him, if the APC had face any of the challenges of the governorship elections in Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo, Ogun, Kano, Lagos, Edo, Ekiti and Osun during the 2019 presidential election, winning the election would have been impossible.
“If anything, absence of any problem during the internal contest for the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate of the party in December 2014 was a major source of electoral strength, which made the party to win elections in virtually all the states it won in 2019, as well as majority seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives,” he noted.
Lukman, who highlighted Buhari’s electoral performances since 2003, stated that the President’s popularity even before gaining power in 2015 had been a force to reckon with.
He said, “With such reality, it can be concluded, therefore, without any dispute, that the electoral advantage of the APC is more on account of the presence of President Buhari in the party. The question, which every APC leader and member needs to answer is; will the APC continue to enjoy such electoral advantage when President Buhari is not the Presidential candidate of the party? Is there another leader in the APC with the towering electoral profile of President Buhari?
“These are not easy questions to answer, although it can also be easily expected that every APC leader and member would want APC to continue to have all the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari. Whether there is another leader with the electoral profile of President Buhari, is yet to be seen, at least not based on any electoral evidence.
“Therefore, what can be done to ensure that the APC continues to have all the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari? Is it even possible for APC to continue to have the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari?”
According to PUNCH, the  DG of PGF stated that there is a very high potential that once appropriate organs of the APC are meeting and decisions are being taken in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution, processes of electing standard-bearers of the party for the 2023 elections would be acceptable. He added that party leaders would also accept the result of the election and support the winner.
According to Lukman, part of the reality of the situations in states, especially where APC lost elections as a result of poor management of internal processes, is that the operation of organs of the party requires a lot of improvements to guarantee transparency and fair participation of party members.
“Often, allegations of manipulations by party leaders, especially around internal processes of candidates’ emergence are the common issues,” he noted.


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Nigeria is in huge financial trouble’, Obaseki laments, says FG printed N60bn to share in March




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Obaseki wonders where the Federal Government would find money to share in Abuja when Shell is pulling out of Nigeria and Chevron investing in alternative fuel.

Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki. [Pulse]

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has decried the state of Nigeria’s economy, saying the Federal Government had to print N60bn in March to support federal allocation to states.

The governor expressed worry on the rising debts of the country, saying Nigeria is in ‘huge financial trouble.’

When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share”

“This April, we will go to Abuja and share.

By the end of this year, our total borrowings are going to be within N15-N16 trillion”, he said.
The governor, who condemned the country’s over-dependence on crude oil lamented that Nigeria’s economy has changed, adding that the current price of crude oil is only a mirage.
Oaseki said, “Nigeria has changed. The economy of Nigeria is not the same again, whether we like it or not. Since the civil war, we have been managing, saying money is not our problem as long as we are pumping crude oil everyday.
“So we have run a very strange economy and strange presidential system where the local, state and federal governments, at the end of the month, go and earn salaries. We are the only country in the world that does that.
“Everywhere else, the government relies on the people to produce taxes and that is what they use to run the local government, state and the federation.

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“But with the way we run Nigeria, the country can go to sleep. At the end of the month, we just go to Abuja, collect money and we come back to spend. We are in trouble, huge financial trouble.
“The current price of crude oil is only a mirage. The major oil companies who are the ones producing are no longer investing much in oil.
The governor wondered where the Federal Government would find money to share in Abuja when Shell is pulling out of Nigeria and Chevron investing in alternative fuel.


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