Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday, says the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election presumably won by late business mogul, Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, was caused by hatred.
Obasanjo said Abiola was his schoolmate at the Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta
He lamented that the cancellation of the June 12 election had robbed of the Egbaland, the rare opportunity to have three of its prominent sons occupy the seat of the president, at different times.
The former president spoke on Sunday in Abeokuta during the investiture of Obasanjo as a Trustee of the Abeokuta Club, a sociocultural organisation of Egba people of Ogun State.
The late business mogul was also awarded a posthumous Vice-Patron of the Club during its 46th President Party held at the secretariat in Abeokuta.
According to Obasanjo, Abiola richly deserved the award bestowed on him by the Abeokuta Club.
Obasanjo who was apparently referring to former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, himself who ruled Nigeria, first, as a military Head of State and later two-time civilian president, noted that Abiola would have become the third if 1993 poll was not cancelled.
Obasanjo said, “I want to thank the (Abeokuta) club for this honour being bestowed on me and the honour being bestowed on my school mate MKO Abiola which he richly deserved.
“Kabiyesi, the Alake (of Egbaland) alluded to it. Normally when you win a cup three times, you keep that cup. Isn’t it? If not for bad belle (hatred), Abeokuta would have produced President of Nigeria three times, in which case we should have kept it permanently.
“But be that as it may, we have a great heritage and we should be proud of our heritage.”
Obasanjo, however, pledged his commitment to the development to the Club, Ogun state, Nigeria and the world.
He added, “I want to say this, I will continue to contribute my quota to the development and growth of this club and by extension, the development and growth of Abeokuta, of Ogun State, of Nigeria, of African and indeed the of the world in whichever way I could.”
Earlier, the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, described Obasanjo and MKO Abiola as proud sons of Abeokuta.
The monarch said some “bad blood” didn’t allow Abiola to become President.
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BREAKING: Workers To Earn More As FG Seeks Pay Parity, Says Finance Minister
Contrary to reports by some media, the federal government is not thinking of cutting wages, rather mulling salary harmonisation.
Therefore, the government, according to Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, is seeking more of pay parity. She disclosed at the ongoing ‘National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Cost of Governance in Nigeria’ organised by the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC) in Abuja on Tuesday that the President had directed the salaries committee to review payroll and also review the number of agencies.
“What government hopes to achieve is to redistribute wages equally across board.
“We still see government expenditure increase to a terrain twice higher than our revenue,” Ahmed said.
The government had approved a N13.88trillion budget with a deficit of over N5.6trillion, and projected a revenue of N7.98trillion to fund part of the 2021 budget.
The Honourable Minister urged that all agencies must come together to trim their costs, given Nigeria’s dwindling revenue. According to her, the government would also remove some unnecessary items from the budget as a move to cut the cost of governance in the country.
She said, “We need to work together, all agencies of the government to cut down our cost. We need to cut down unnecessary expenditures. Expenditures that we can do without. Our budgets are filled year in year out with projects that we see over and over again, and also projects that are not necessary.”
“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the salaries committee, which I chair, work together with the head of service (HOS) and other members of the committee to review the government pay rolls considering stepping down on cost.”
She revealed that the government would also review the number of government agencies in terms of their mandates. Ahmed disclosed that for agencies with the same mandate, the government would look at merging the two.
The Chairman of ICPC, Mr. Bolaji Owasanoye, noted during the stakeholders meeting, that the cost of governance is the “driver of corruption in Nigeria.” He said that the government had committed to improving the country’s revenue from new and existing sources.
Owasanoye said that the government’s commitment to streamline payroll, removal of subsidies and reduction of the cost of contracts and procurement are all for the benefits of the poor and vulnerable. He also said that a critical area of concern was he called ‘payroll padding’ and the ‘phenomenon of ghost workers.’
The ICPC boss lamented the duplication of projects such as the constituency projects of lawmakers, and noted that funding for such projects was usually released without any mechanism for monitoring and evaluation and reconciliation of the funding. He then cited a project executed by the Redeemed Christian Church of God which was inadvertently diverted as an executive project.
Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi
Special Adviser, Media and Communications
To the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning
5th May, 2021
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