Saraki Faults INEC Verdict on Osun Polls, Urges PDP Supporters to Remain Firm

Saraki Faults INEC Verdict on Osun Polls, Urges PDP Supporters to Remain Firm

 

President of the Senate and Chairman, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Council on Osun State Gubernatorial Election, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has faulted the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the election results were inconclusive.

 

Saraki, in a statement signed by him, expressed dismay over the decision by INEC to declare as “inconclusive” an election in which a candidate won the highest number of votes and fulfilled the condition for geographical spread.

 

“In my lay man’s opinion, the INEC was wrong in declaring the election as inconclusive because the votes in certain polling units were cancelled. The decision of INEC to cancel the election in those areas after voting had taken place means INEC had already excluded the votes in these areas from the election process and therefore those units should have no place in the overall results. My opinion would have been different if the election in the affected units did not take place at all, may be as a result of malfunctioning of the card reader machine or unavailability of the electoral materials. Since the voting took place and was cancelled, only the courts could reverse the initial decision by INEC to cancel the votes in these areas.

 

“That is why I call on our party and its candidate to seek further legal interpretation on this decision by the electoral body. One cannot but wonder whether if the places were reversed and the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is the one leading in the election, the INEC will take the same decision it has taken now.

 

“At this point, it is necessary to also call on INEC to display courage, boldness, independence, neutrality and patriotism so as to send signals to the world at large that Nigerian electoral system has come of age and that our democracy has matured. The electoral body needs to re-assure all and sundry that the 2019 election and other elections will be free of manipulations and undue interference.

 

“The INEC should note that the Osun gubernatorial election is not only about that South-western state. It is about our country and the entire world is watching. Our national interest is at stake. The integrity of our electoral system is at stake. The reputation of the electoral body is at stake. The future of our democracy is on the line. The way INEC conclusively handles the Osun election will determine global expectations from our political process. It should therefore ensure that the wish of the Osun State electorate eventually prevail.

 

“I praise the dedication and hard work of PDP supporters and the candidate of the party, Senator Ademola Adeleke. They have remained steadfast, resilient, focused and determined.

 

“Let me also commend all the other contestants in yesterday’s election for their gallant efforts because it is clear they are all working for the same objective from different perspectives and platforms to ensure that the era of mis-governance, pain, injustice and insensitivity to the plight of the common people comes to an end. It is our hope that they will all co-operate with Senator Adeleke to ensure that Osun State witnesses a development-oriented era.

 

“Let me remind our party supporters and the good people of Osun State that this INEC decision constitute only a delay of the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke and the PDP in Osun Gubernatorial election, as our triumph will come either through the judiciary or a further balloting.

 

“I thank PDP supporters and the general public in Osun State and note that we got to this point after many months of hard work, determination and focus. We should not despair and not lose our focus and determination to ensure that the final results reflect the will of the Osun people.

 

“Our party is ahead, despite the irregularities. Our people must remain resilient to see this through to the finish. Now is the time to re-strategize, reach out to all the other candidates and their supporters, build on our lead, and bring this election home.

 

“Our supporters and the entire people of Osun State should remain calm and maintain peace as we move forward to see the successful completion of the electoral process. “Once again, I thank all supporters of the PDP and the people of Osun State who stayed up all night, both physically and on social media to monitor the numbers and protect our votes. We remain undeterred, and we all remain determined to ensure that Senator Ademola Adeleke becomes the next Governor of Osun State”, Saraki stated.

 

Signed

 

Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON

President of the Senate and Chairman, PDP Presidential Council on Osun Gubernatorial Election

Saraki Condemns Police Raid on Edwin Clark’s Home, Calls for Probe

Saraki Condemns Police Raid on Edwin Clark’s Home, Calls for Probe

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has condemned the unwarranted search in the Abuja home of nonagenarian, Chief Edwin Clark, by the police, and called for an open, comprehensive investigation into the incident.

Saraki while reacting to the incident described it as “unwarranted harassment of the statesman” who is known for being very vocal in expressing his views on national issues and stated that the incident must not be allowed to be covered up without the public knowing all the details, particularly concerning who gave the order, who signed the police search warrant, which officers executed it and what objective was it meant to serve.

“Chief Edwin Clark, a Second Republic Senator, former minister under the General Gowon administration is not just anybody. Yes, he is not above the law. If there is a genuine reason for his home to be searched by law enforcement agencies, nobody will object to it. However, as it now appears, for the Police to conduct a raid on the home of a man of that age on the pretence that they were looking for arms and eventually, the claim turned out to be a hoax, then something must be amiss.

“This type of action by the Police coming at this time when the nation is preparing for election is not reflecting well on the country. Such actions constitute a threat to democracy. They represent gross abuse of state institutions. Now that the Inspector General of Police has denied that the raid was never authorized, the next move should be a thorough, transparent investigation into the Senator Edwin Clark incident to prevent future occurrence.

“This kind of ugly development must stop. This country experienced peaceful change in 2015 because the government in power allowed democracy to work. If the government had allowed the flagrant abuse and misuse of state institutions to be the norm, we would not have had the change that occurred”, he stated.

Saraki reminded the government of its recent commitment to world leaders on the need to create a peaceful and conducive atmosphere necessary for a credible, free and fair elections where citizens can freely exercise their franchise, devoid of intimidation, suppression and abuse of ther fundamental human rights. He noted that incidents like the one in the home of Chief Clark is in conflict with the promise the government made to these world leaders.

“Democracy is not only about elections. Circumstances that will create tension in any part of the country or make people feel that their fundamental human rights are being trampled upon should be avoided. If a man of the caliber and status of Senator Edwin Clark could suffer such unwarranted raid on his home, then what happens to ordinary Nigerians as we move towards the 2019 polls and beyond?”, he asked.

Signed:

Yusuph Olaniyonu
Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to Senate President

Saraki to PDP: Let’s Work Together in Defence of Democracy

Saraki to PDP: Let’s Work Together in Defence of Democracy

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has enjoined all members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to work together in defence of democracy and with the aim of providing good governance to Nigerians.

 

Speaking at the 81st National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the party, Saraki, who recently moved back to the PDP, emphasized the need for inclusiveness, justice, equity and sacrifices in order to ensure that Nigerians feel the impact of the party in preparations for the 2019 general elections.

 

“For me, I am happy that I am back to the political party where I started. I am happy to see many of my colleagues here. Men and women, who have given me faith. Men and women, who make me to believe that there are still people of character.

 

“Many of you have made and are always ready to make sacrifices for this great party and for this nation, because you all want a better tomorrow. Now that this day has come, we have been brought together in unity, and we will forge ahead as one.”

 

The President of the Senate, urged members of the PDP NEC, to endeavour to acknowledge the contributions of every member of the party, regardless of who they are or where they stand.

 

“What we have learnt from history, and what we have continued to see, is that everyone is important on this journey that we are embarking, and no sacrifice is too much for us to make to reach that promised land. However, we will only reach that promised land when we see a greater tomorrow for our people, and for all Nigerians.

 

“Therefore, I want to make an appeal on behalf of all of us — when we get back to our constituencies, please, let us continue to open our arms and receive the people who have the numbers that will give us victory come February 2019. This is because, we are all here to work towards a better and greater tomorrow on behalf of all Nigerians,” Saraki said.

 

He thanked the party under the leadership, including Prince Uche Secondus, National Chairman of the PDP, and Senator Walid Jubrin, the Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, for welcoming back himself, his state Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State; and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, back to the party.

 

“On behalf of all of us, those who have left, and are now happy to be back here, I want to assure you that we will work tirelessly to do what is right and put this country in the right situation.”

 

Saraki also pledged to join others under the umbrella of the PDP towards making the nation’s democracy stronger, providing security, stronger economy and quality service delivery for the benefit of the people.

 

“The message that I would like to leave you all with, is: ‘Let us all work together, so that this time, our sacrifice can truly be worth it for all our people. I thank you for how the warm reception you have given to us. We are grateful that you have received us into where we truly belong.”

 

END

 

Media Office of the Senate President

JOINT PRESS RELEASE BY THE SENATE PRESIDENT AND THE SPEAKER: Saraki, Dogara: Current Situation in Benue is a Desecration of Legislative Sanctity

JOINT PRESS RELEASE BY THE SENATE PRESIDENT AND THE SPEAKER

July 30, 2018

 

Saraki, Dogara: Current Situation in Benue is a Desecration of Legislative Sanctity

 

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have described as “a desecration of the legislative sanctity”, the on-going situation in Benue State in which eight out of the 30 members of the State House of Assembly have commenced impeachment process against the Governor and with the support of the police, the 22 other members who constitute more than two-third majority are kept away from the Assembly Complex.

 

In a statement jointly signed by their aides in charge of media, Saraki and Dogara also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the police to order and stop them being used to achieve political purposes.

 

“We have monitored closely the development in Benue State in which the impeached Speaker, Terkimbir Ikyange, led seven other members to serve impeachment notice on the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, while the 22 other members who constitute more than two-third majority have been prevented from having access to the chamber. We believe this is illegality and does not conform to parliamentary procedure on impeachment.

 

“We also note with surprise the role of the Police in this undemocratic event in which the minority is seeking to impeach a Governor against the position of the majority. We believe it is the sacred institution of the legislature that is being desecrated and rubbished in all these negative developments.

 

“The situation in Benue State House of Assembly has grave implication for the nation’s democracy and it represents a throw-back to the period of dictatorship in our country. It also represents how the Nigeria Police are being misused to achieve political end. In a statement recently, the Presidency derisively referred to an era in the past where a minority number of legislators was used to impeach Governors who were unfriendly with the Federal Government. What we are seeing in Benue now is a return to that inglorious era.

 

“We believe this unlawful and unconstitutional move to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom by a minority should be condemned by all lovers of democracy, at home and abroad. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the police to order and prevent a break-down of law and order. We also call on friends of Nigeria in the international community to lend their voice in condemning the perpetration of illegalities and actions that can subvert our democracy.

 

“There is already a tense atmosphere in Benue State following the recent killings. Nobody should encourage any action or move which may exacerbate the security situation in the North Central State. As leaders of the Federal legislature, we are ready to work with our colleagues in both chambers of the National Assembly to prevent any attempt to destroy any state legislature or use it to derail democracy”, Saraki and Dogara stated.

 

Signed

 

Yusuph Olaniyonu 

Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to Senate President

 

And

 

Turaki Hassan

Special Adviser (Media and Public Affairs to Speaker, House of Representatives)

Police Invitation is a Mere Political Game, Says Saraki

  1. Police Invitation is a Mere Political Game, Says Saraki

 

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has stated that the invitation to him by the Police to report to a station in Guzape over the Offa robbery investigation is a mere afterthought which is designed to achieve a political purpose.

 

Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that he has it on good authority that the Police had already decided on the suspects to arraign in court in Ilorin, Kwara State on Wednesday based on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mohammed U.E. and that the turn around to invite him was a ploy aimed at scoring cheap political points.

 

“I have been reliably informed that the police invitation was planned by IG as a ploy to stop an alleged plan by some Senators and House of Representatives members from defecting from the All Progressives Congress (APC). It was also said that if I was detained between Tuesday and Wednesday, that will abort the so-called defection plan.

 

“While I continue to maintain that the issue of my position on the 2019 elections is not a personal decision for me alone to make, it should be noted that all these concoctions and evil plots cannot deter me. Those behind this fresh assault will fail as I have nothing to do with the robbery incident or any criminal matter for that matter.

 

“I am aware that following a request made by the Police on June 13, 2018 to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of the Fedeeation had written a legal advice dated June 22, 2018, in which he stated on page 5, paragraph (f) that “For the Senate President and the Kwara State Governor, this office is unable to establish from the evidence in the interim report a nexus between the alleged office and the suspects”.

 

“The Police have obviously corrupted and politicized their investigations into the Offa robbery incident. They have turned it into an instrument for the party in power to suppress perceived opponents, witch hunt issue for blackmailing people from freely choosing which platform on which they want to pursue their ambitions and a matter for harassing the people whose exit from APC would harm the chances of the party in the forthcoming elections.

 

“I want to make it apparent that I have no hand in either the robbery incident or any criminal acitivity. The Police in their haste to embarrass me sent the invitation to me at 8pm and requested that I report to the station by 8am tomorrow morning. This obviously demonstrated their desperation as I do not see why they are now in a hurry.

 

“They also stated in today’s letter that because in my response of June 7, 2018 to their own letter written on June 4, 2018, I stated that I was responding simply to the contents of the letter and that the full text of the statement made by the arrested suspects which they claimed indicted me was not made available to me, they were now including the suspects statements in the current letter. Yet, instead of including the suspects’ statements, they only attached two copies of my own letter to the invitation. No suspects statement was made available.

 

“This plot aimed at compelling me and my associates to stay in a party where members are criminalised without just cause, where injustice is perpetrated at the highest level and where there is no respect for constitutionalism is an exercise in futility and it will fail.

 

“Once again, my confidence in God and our judicial system remains intact and unshaken. The truth shall also prevail in this case”, he stated.

 

Signed

Yusuph Olaniyonu

Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Senate President

Story Of Juicy Offers Not True, Says Saraki

Story Of Juicy Offers Not True, Says Saraki

 

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has said that the speculations about juicy offers being made to him and his associates as part of the on-going discussions with the Presidency and leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is untrue.

 

He said what is at stake is the future of the country and its democracy and that it will be myopic for anybody to be talking about whether certain offers have been made to an individual or if such offers would be accepted or not.

 

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki stated that he saw some reports talking about promise of money or oil block and nomination tickets but added that those viewing the on-going development in that context are simply reducing a major national issue involving many key actors to that of personal benefits and preferences.

 

“I believe at this point, it is important for me to make some clarifications, end speculations and make my position clear. It is important for Nigerians to know that the discussions that I and many others of like minds are having with the Presidency and the leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) is not about me and what I want. It involves the future of our country and her democracy. It is about making things better for our people.

 

“Though there are many speculations being peddled in the media, let it be known these discussions are not about me. Whatever has happened to me in the past has passed. Now that God in his infinite mercy has vindicated me, I have moved on, believing that we have all learnt our lessons.

 

“As I said in my statement following the Supreme Court Judgement on July 6, I cannot hold any grudge against any individual. I have forgiven all those who played any role in my persecution and likewise, I have asked for forgiveness from all those that I wronged in the past. Our focus should now be about Nigeria. The major issue on the table for discussion is how to strengthen our democracy, rebuild our economy, stop the spate of insecurity, improve the conditions of living of our people and generally chart a course for the development of this great country.

 

“We will be insulting Nigerians if, as the 2019 elections draw nearer, our deliberations is about personal benefits or how to pay compensation for wrongs done to an individual.

 

“As for my political future, we just need to continue to engage with others, listen to advices and exchange ideas because the decision is not that of mine alone. It is for all our supporters and associates to deliberate upon and take a decision based on the overall interest of our people. It is my prayers that Almighty God will guide us right in all our decisions and make a positive turn-around in our country”, he stated.

 

Signed

 

Yusuph Olaniyonu 

Special Adviser (Media & Publicity)

Speech Delivered by the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, at the Fourth Convocation Ceremony of Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State. July 22nd, 2018.

Speech Delivered by the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, at the Fourth Convocation Ceremony of Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State. July 22nd, 2018.

 

PROTOCOLS.

 

It is a special pleasure to be here with you all on this great occasion which is the Fourth Convocation Ceremony of Adeleke University, one of the shining private institutions of learning that are helping to restore pride in tertiary education in our country. It is a day filled with the golden promise of tomorrow, and that promise is embodied in every single graduating student here today, in whom rests a glimmer of our hopes for the future of our dear country, Nigeria.

 

I thank Professor Samuel Ekundayo Alao, President and Vice Chancellor of Adeleke University, for my invitation to this great event in the life of this institution, and in the lives of the students and their families. I congratulate you all for the laurel-adorned achievements being celebrated today, because anyone looking at the graduating students can see that they radiate the excellence that has been imparted to them during their time at this university. I congratulate the entire members of staff, the academic and the non-academic staff. It is said that you never forget a good teacher, and I am sure a good number of these students will testify to the diligence of their lecturers at many points in their lives in the future. I must congratulate the man that made all this possible, in whose vision the gem of the idea for Adeleke University first took shape, and whose commitment and tenacity brought it all into being. I speak, of course, of none other than the founder of this institution, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, a true visionary.

 

Naturally, on an occasion such as this, the most fulsome kudos must go to the graduating students who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of learning, and who sit in the place of honour today. Having earned their stripes, they are ready to go out into the world and contribute their quota to the upliftment of our society and to humanity. I congratulate the parents and guardians who saw them this far, supporting their charges in every weather, through boom and recession. I know, as a proud father of children who have passed through this stage in their lives, the joy is indescribable when one’s child fulfils expectations, and shows every sign of attaining their potential and destiny. I have no doubt in my mind that it is a similar feeling for every parent or guardian watching their ward graduate at this Fourth Convocation Ceremony of Adeleke University today.

 

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, when I look at the graduating students, I see a crop of freshly minted economic actors whose endeavours can give the needed impetus to our quest to realise our nation’s potentials. The choices they make, the paths they choose, will not just inform the direction of their individual lives but also the country’s push towards growth and development. That is why it is important, at this juncture, to get a measure of what is at stake, to better prepare these young ones for the road ahead. It is also why the title of this address, ‘National Economic Development Through Entrepreneurship: The Role of Private Universities in Nigeria’ is one I believe holds particular resonance for an occasion such as this.

 

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we should put into proper context the job market that the graduating students are going into, in order to remind ourselves as to the factors at play and the nature of the challenge before us as a nation. According to the World Economic Outlook as projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for 2018, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP) adjusted rates is $5,929.20. This places us at number 137 on a list of 187 countries. By comparison, however, the adjusted GDP per capita for Singapore is $93,905.50. The difference is clear, and it is even more so, when we consider the fact that Singapore and Nigeria were virtually neck and neck in terms of macroeconomic statistics during the 1960s. Five decades later, we are playing catch up. Singapore, on the other hand, is being celebrated as one of the four Asian Tiger countries with highly developed economies powered by entrepreneurship.

 

The Asian Tigers, namely, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan – are countries that have achieved high levels of economic growth driven by exports and rapid industrialisation, such that they now line up with the richest and most developed economies globally. Over the last few decades, the Asian Tigers have jumped ahead of most African countries, leveraging on the boom in emergent technology and globalisation, and have propelled themselves forwards to become the economic powerhouses that they are today. In 2017, the last of what I would call ‘The Fab Four’, South Korea, overtook Japan in GDP, making this highly successful quartet of countries second only to China in economic might. From all indications, there is no stopping the Asian Tigers; Hong Kong and Singapore are major financial centres, while South Korea and Taiwan are global manufacturing hubs for automobile and electronic components as well as information technology. For us in Nigeria, the impact of a country like Taiwan is all too plain to see when you walk into Computer Village or Ladipo Market in Lagos.

 

Still on the Asian Tigers, a case in point is Singapore, which, not too long ago, was at a similar economic level with Nigeria. Singapore has one of the Top Ten GDP per capita in the world, with one in six households having over $1 million in cash savings. The key to this remarkable transformation is entrepreneurship. The number of Singaporeans owning their own businesses has doubled in the last decade, making the country the world’s second in terms of entrepreneurs per capita; the United States of America occupying the number one position in that regard.

 

Again, the key ingredient in the rise and rise of Singapore is entrepreneurship. Not for them an economy dependent on natural resources. Quite unlike Nigeria, with our oil-fixation that has led to the unfortunate neglect of many economically potent alternatives, especially the talent of our massive population. By contrast, those at the helm in Singapore realised a long time ago that the country’s future prosperity lay in the talent of its people and in information. That realisation – and the will to act on it – proved to be a game changer that allowed them to leapfrog over Nigeria in the economic stakes. The government of Singapore laid out a framework for political, economic and cultural adjustments to make the country ‘a hub of talent, enterprise and innovation.’ This was articulated in an Economic Review Committee Report commissioned in 2001 by the then Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong. The objective was to inculcate in the people the embrace of entrepreneurship characterised by pioneering ventures and risk-taking, with success as the goal.

 

A decade after that groundbreaking Report, 21.4% of Singaporeans indicated the intention to start their own businesses. This percentage had doubled in less than five years, and was second only to Taiwan, another Tiger economy. Most encouraging is the demographic that is driving Singapore’s economic growth – youths – like our graduating students here today. That transformative culture of entrepreneurship is what I would like to commend to the accomplished youths that have the honour of place at this Fourth Convocation.

 

Nearly 25% of Singaporeans between the ages of 35 and 44 say they want to start their own business; and one in six of their compatriots have already taken that decisive step. It is expected that this culture of entrepreneurship driven by the youth population will continue to make all the difference in driving growth in Singapore’s economy. And this is the challenge for us here in Nigeria, as we work to bolster the recovery of our economy from the recent recession, to diversify the revenue base for greater development.

 

It should be of interest to those coming out of our universities that in the third quarter of 2017, 40 percent of Nigeria’s labour force was either unemployed or underemployed. Analysts say our economy must create an estimated five million jobs annually in order to meet the unemployment challenge. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), we managed to create only 1.6 million jobs in 2015, and we are no closer to closing the deficit gap. With a population of over 190 million growing at the rate of two per cent per annum, the challenge is ever so urgent, to create jobs for the teeming masses of Nigerians, and to drive productivity and prosperity.

 

We are an emerging economy with a large youth demographic which constitutes 70 per cent of the population – including those leaving university this year, as in this hall – and we have youthful drive and energy on our side as we seek to bridge this gap. Our population is growing and is on track to hit 400 million by 2050, when we will become the third most populous country in the world. Experts project a huge demographic dividend for us as a country by that time, but only if we can harness the immense potential of our youth driven population now, for innovative ideas that can become large business empires and create the much needed jobs for our people.

 

There is no reason why any of today’s graduating students cannot become a Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, net worth $5 billion – or Brian Chesky, a co-founder of Air BnB. Michelle Phan of the cosmetic business Ipsy is now worth $300 million – not bad for someone who first started by uploading her videos on YouTube.

 

Of course, Nigeria is not exactly a non-starter in tech, where the impact of youthful innovation is already transforming many sub-sectors, from payment solutions to health outcomes and entertainment. Nigeria is one of the Top Three destinations in Africa for tech investors; and tech start-ups have already put Yaba Lagos on the world map in this regard. Visiting Lagos in 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “I was highly impressed by the talent of the youths in the Co-Creation Hub in Yaba. I was blown away by their talent and the level of energy.” Not only were our tech start-ups able to weather the recession without breaking a sweat, they are attracting major seed funding. FinTechs like Flutterwave and Paystack not only raised over $100 million funding between them in less than two years, they are revolutionising online payments and the adoption of card payments in Nigeria, fueling the growth of online retail ventures similarly powered by young entrepreneurs, of which Jumia and Konga are among the market leaders.

 

What I would like our graduating students to note is that this frenetic activity is only a drop in the ocean, when we talk about the potential of the tech sector in Nigeria. We have about 15.5 million smartphone users in this country; that translates to only 23 per cent of the population. At 47 per cent, internet penetration captures less than half of the population. There is room for exponential growth still, and analysts are confident that FinTech, for example, has the potential to transform the financial services landscape in Nigeria over the next five years. We are looking to the youth to take up the challenge and grasp the opportunities, to drive entrepreneurship in this area.

 

Agriculture is a major plank in our drive for the diversification of the revenue base, to wean our economy off its dependency on oil. And yet, we are nowhere near tapping into the Agricultural Value Chain in any sustainable way. From Rice to poultry to dairy products, we are producing far below required volumes. The unavoidable fact is that there is room for exponential growth.

 

The 8th National Assembly, under my leadership, is focused on strengthening the legislative framework to make Agriculture more investor friendly. We have provided a further boost for the sector through legislation that not only supports existing businesses but encourages the entry of new investors and Agro-preneurs. Believing that entrepreneurship is crucial to success in the various sectors of the economy, and to encourage the greater participation of the private sector, the National Assembly has, since its inception, prioritised the passage of landmark economic laws to enable Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to grow.

 

We have carried out legislative reforms that have helped improve Nigeria’s position on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking. This is further strengthened by the recent passage of the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), which is the most significant business reform law enacted in this country in three decades. It may interest many of your graduating students that it is easier than ever to start your own business, as we have removed much of the regulatory burden in this area. It is now possible for a single person to form a private company; and this is consistent with other trail-blazing economies including the United Kingdom, India and Singapore. A Company Secretary is no longer obligatory for small companies or those with only one shareholder; Annual General Meetings are no longer mandatory; small companies are exempt from having to appoint an auditor and so on. The cumulative effect of the provisions of CAMA means that any of today’s graduates can start a company with relative ease and become an entrepreneur, thus becoming a driver of economic activity in the country.

 

It is my firm belief that, when we can usefully engage our teeming youths so that they grab opportunities for themselves in order to contribute their quota, we would have gone some way towards alleviating some of the many problems bedeviling our society. This is where the role of private universities really comes into focus, to help provide an enabling environment for the nurturing of raw talent. The education ethos ought to move away from the over-emphasis on theory-based approach and paper certification towards inculcating practical skills that support apprenticeship and boost innovation and industry. This is the place of Vocational and Technical education which provides that the youth imbibe practical skills that will not only make them employable but will also help the country to build an army of job providers.

 

Private universities must therefore rise to the challenge, to ensure that entrepreneurial skills are taught across various disciplines. I am happy to note that Adeleke University has taken a lead in this area, and places emphasis on related programmes for skills acquisition to enable students take a more expansive view of their prospects and to make a living after graduation, and even have the opportunity to flex those entrepreneurial muscles and create jobs. If I have anything to add, it is that private universities should build their Alumni base, because, among other benefits, it will give students concrete examples of entrepreneurship to emulate. The university should encourage its alumni to hire students for paid internships, as this will impart them with necessary skills that will stand them in good stead when they graduate. Again, the design of the curriculum should never lose sight of the need for vocational education.

 

To the graduating students, I will say that it is perhaps true that Nigerian youths are not currently maximising the potential that social media has for stimulating entrepreneurship in many areas, including those that were unheard of just a few years ago. I would like to see more young Nigerians put what they learned in the university to impactful use by leveraging on the social media’s abundant opportunity for business ventures. Entrepreneurship starts with a mindset; form networks, begin to see your phone as a business tool and not just a fashion accessory; get tutorials for starting new businesses or to ginger new business ideas.

 

You have had the benefit of a very good private education here at Adeleke University, so it is perhaps fair to say that you have had a bit of a leg-up; it is now time to take that a step further to showing the dividends in terms of entrepreneurship. Do not wait for the jobs to come to you; create the opportunities for yourself and for others; create the jobs. How, some of you may ask? I would say the avenues are all around us. Go beyond watching make-up tutorials on YouTube to thinking about setting up a business to create your own line of cosmetics and skincare products. Rihanna the singer did it. Admittedly, she was already a millionaire many times over as a world famous entertainer, but the point is that she did not content herself with that alone. She ventured and looked for new opportunities, gaps in the market that she could fill, and so she created the wildly successful Fenty range of cosmetics. It is all about being able to identify the opportunity and to grab it with both hands.

 

In line with this vision, government has taken some decisive steps by way of incentives and initiatives to encourage youth entrepreneurship. The Bank of Industry (BOI) Youth Entrepreneurship Support Programme (YES) is one major avenue that is available, to equip those between the ages of 18 to 35 going into business with the requisite skills, and crucially, to provide funding support. Various Outgrowers Schemes aim to get more young people into the Agro-allied businesses while stimulating the creation of thousands of new jobs. The 8th Senate’s Made-In-Nigeria Initiative is also very much geared towards empowering local manufacturers, to see to it that the more than 2 trillion naira that would ordinarily go to other economies for the importation of simple everyday items, can instead energise local production. What it means is that, for entrepreneurs, the market is there for those that can into the manufacturing of such products.

 

Access to power is one of the major challenges in the way anyone in business in Nigeria today, with added snags including the cost of diesel to power generators. Efforts are being made to increase generation and distribution so that we can ease these problems, for greater productivity all round.

 

The 8th National Assembly has paid close attention to the ability to access funds for business ventures; and so we have passed legislation with a view to alleviating these. The Secure Transactions in Moveable Assets Bills opens up a new stream of opportunity to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to access capital by using movable goods including small machinery and household items including mobile phones as collateral. The previous requirement for fixed assets such as land, is removed. Taken with the Credit Reporting Act which removes the risk of lending, the combined impact of these two pieces of legislation is greater opportunity to borrow for small businesses, a major boost for entrepreneurship.

 

Our goal is to ensure that when a young person has a good idea for entrepreneurial activity that can empower that person and grow our economy, we must support and empower that individual. The world is looking to Africa – and Nigeria in particular – as an investment destination. More than half of the countries with the fastest growth rates are in Africa; many nations on the continent are growing at the rate of three per cent or more – no other region of the world can boast of this presently. What it means is that we too must prepare and take the necessary steps to be able to take full advantage when the world comes calling. These opportunities for entrepreneurship will happen; we just have to make sure we are ready. The key to success in the years ahead lies in our ability to make the gains.

 

To the graduating students, let me reiterate that you should be able to look at what you have studied at a macro level. More often than not, a first degree should be a platform to access and create opportunities in life for yourself, for others and for your country, to the benefit of the national economy. It is a Win-Win.

 

I charge you all to be good ambassadors for your alma mater, Adeleke University – and to be good economic ambassadors for your generation and for this country. Endeavour always to be a credit to yourselves, to your families, your communities, and your country. The motto of this university is ‘Education, Excellence and Character’ – I encourage you to be exemplars of this motto. Be lifelong students, live the knowledge culture; an individual that never ceases to learn, never ceases to grow.

 

And finally, embrace the culture of entrepreneurship. Always aim for the next level, challenge yourself, venture. I wish you the very best of luck.

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

 

Press Release: Nigeria To Host 73rd Meeting Of The APU In October

Press Release 

July 19, 2018

Nigeria To Host 73rd Meeting Of The APU In October

 

Nigeria will in October host the 73rd Meeting of the African Parliamentary Union (APU), in Abuja, it was learnt yesterday.

 

The Secretary-General of the APU, Mr. Nzi Koffi, disclosed this during a meeting with the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and the leadership of the National Assembly, in Abuja.

 

Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja, welcomed the APU’s boss and members of his delegation to Nigeria and said that he is delighted that the country was selected by the body to host this year’s meeting.

 

He also welcomed the African Parliamentarians expected at the October 2 – 3, 2018 meeting in advance and pledged that all efforts are being made to ensure that the convocation is successful.

 

Earlier, the APU’s Scribe, Mr. Koffi, thanked Saraki and the leadership of the National Assembly for accepting to host the 73rd Meeting of the body in October and said that the visit was under the auspices of the organizing committee for the meeting.

 

He expressed satisfaction at the efforts and level of preparations already done by the nation’s lawmakers and members of the local organizing committee towards a hitch= free confab.

 

END

Sanni Onogu

Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate 

Press Release: Saraki Congratulates Fayemi

Press Release 

July 15, 2018

Saraki Congratulates Fayemi

 

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has congratulated the Governor-elect of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on his victory in the just-concluded Ekiti gubernatorial election.

 

Saraki, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that the Governor-elect of Ekiti State should use his second-coming to continue the people-centered policies and programmes of his first term, while urging him to also work to grow the State’s economy in order to leave behind a sustainable legacy.

 

He said the victory was a sign that the people of Ekiti State still have confidence in the former minister’s ability to provide good governance and render efficient service to the state and its people. He also advised the Governor-elect to maintain his focus on how to bring more development to the State and improve the standard of living of the people.

 

 

The Senate President also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the law enforcement and security agencies, the government and entire electorate to learn some lessons from the Ekiti State gubernatorial election, which has served as a fore-runner to the 2019 General Elections and ensure that all areas of complaints and inadequacies are corrected before a similar election in Osun State and the 2019 general elections.

 

“To ensure that the Nigeria people have continued trust and faith in our electoral system, we must continue to work to improve our electoral policies and practices. We must look into the issues that have been identified in this last election to ensure that they are not repeated in the upcoming Osun Gubernatorial election, and during the 2019 elections. Definitely, the 2019 elections must be better in all ramifications than the 2015 polls”, he said.

 

Saraki prayed that God will bless and guide the Governor-elect as he prepares to assume Office, and called for a smooth transition between the outgoing government and the incoming one.

 

Signed 

Yusuph Olaniyonu

Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to Senate President

 

 

Saraki Hails Supreme Court Verdict, Says Trial Politically Motivated

Saraki Hails Supreme Court Verdict, Says Trial Politically Motivated

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has reiterated his confidence in the judicial process and the ability of the Judiciary to do justice to all manner of men and in all circumstances.

 

In a statement personally signed by him after the judgement of the Supreme Court which upheld the earlier decision of the Code of Conduct Tribunal discharging and acquitting him of all 18 charges instituted against him, Saraki expressed gratitude to all Nigerians who have supported him since the case commenced three years ago.

 

“At the end of a tortuous journey of 1018 Days counting from September 22, 2015 when the case began at the Tribunal, I am happy that I have been vindicated. The Supreme Court has affirmed that there is no evidence of false declaration of assets. The court also observed that certain agents took over the responsibility of the Code of Conduct Bureau in this trial, and one can infer that this was done towards a pre-determined end.

 

“This outcome has gladdened my heart and further strengthened my belief in this country and as well as my faith in Almighty Allah, who is the righter of all wrongs. God has vindicated me today before the judgement of man, and I am most thankful and humbled at His grace and infinite mercies.

 

“Through it all, I refused to be shaken, knowing, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, that the arch of the moral universe may be long, but it bends towards justice. I knew the day would come when justice would prevail and I would be exonerated.

 

“I have always believed in the infallibility of our Judiciary, secure in the knowledge that our courts – the last refuge of the oppressed – would never condemn the innocent. This outcome is also a vindication of my belief in the rule of law.

 

“As I said in my first appearance at the CCT, this is a politically motivated case. The case was trumped up in the first instance because of my emergence as the President of the Senate against the wishes of certain forces. Ordinarily, I doubt anyone would be interested in the asset declaration form I filled over 15 years ago.

 

“What we have seen is the opposite. Instead of working together in the interest of the nation and to seek to do better for our people, we are fighting one another and using legal instruments to mount baseless accusations against one another. Instead of exhibiting the need for unity and working day and night for that purpose, we are stoking the fire of division and rancour. I maintain that, above all else, my CCT trial has been a flagrant vilification of my person, and shows that some people are after their personal interests rather than the national interest.

 

“As a result of the war of attrition, various arms of government have wasted resources needlessly. It has been three wasted years across board in this country. Three years that would have been devoted to tackling issues affecting Nigerians, including: economic recovery, insecurity, youth unemployment and strengthening national institutions – were wasted on malicious prosecution. People were ready to trade off three years that would have been devoted to fostering cooperation, unity and economic progress for their selfish ends. It is my hope that those who are behind my persecution will see the handwriting on the wall and leave me to do the work for which I was elected, so I can continue to give my all to this great country of ours.

 

“As many have rightly observed, it is plain to see that the anti-corruption fight is being prosecuted with vindictiveness, to target perceived political opponents. I believe in the need to fight corruption, but I will never be party to the selective application of the law or the rhetoric of an insincere anti-corruption fight.

 

“I believe in fighting corruption and I have made my own humble contributions to the fight against corruption in this country. As a presidential aide, I initiated the process that led to the enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act. I was the first governor to establish the Price Intelligence Unit which later metamorphosed into the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) at the federal level. In the history of this country, the highest fraud, the most brazen corruption has been the Fuel Subsidy scam. No one wanted to talk about it or confront entrenched powers. As a Senator on the platform of the ruling party at that time, I sponsored a motion on the floor of the Senate calling for investigation that led to the unprecedented exposure of the massive corruption in the fuel subsidy regime. That was my only point of departure with the former President. My antecedents speak for themselves.

 

“I thank Nigerians for standing by me through the difficult period of this trial. The support of ordinary Nigerians and their faith in me, as well as their sophistication and discernment in seeing this case for what it was, has been a source of strength to me.

 

“I am most grateful for the support of my Distinguished Colleagues and the Honourable Members of the 8th National Assembly for their unflinching support and regular attendance at the various proceedings. They were unfairly criticised for accompanying me on court appearances, but it is now clear that they did so because they believed that injustice to one, is injustice to all. They have been the true embodiment of esprit de corps. I thank them for banding together in the face of an unconscionable attack on the institution of the legislature.

 

“I thank my legal team for their determined and principled stance, and for their knowledge and diligence, which saw this case to its just conclusion. My gratitude to all my friends, political associates, supporters and the good people of Kwara State – all of whom have been solidly behind me.

 

“I thank my family for enduring this trial with their usual grace and fortitude. My immense gratitude also goes to the international community for their interest in this case. The Nigerian press have kept watch and I appreciate their vigilance in ensuring that all the facts were held up to scrutiny.

 

“To my supporters, yes, there is a reason to rejoice, but our celebration must be tempered with the sobering lessons of the attempted injustice from Day One of this trial. We all have to canvas for fairness in the fight against corruption. We should see this verdict as an inspiration to champion the rule of law, promote democracy and its institutions as well as tolerance of divergent views.

 

“The overwhelming support of so many, and the insistence on ensuring that due process and truth prevailed, has made this verdict possible,” he stated.

 

 

SIGNED:

Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON

PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE