Amaechi: Redefining The Governor’s Forum

Group Politics Editor, Taiwo Adisa, takes a look at the initial steps of the new chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Chief Rotimi Amaechi, since he assumed chairmanship position of the powerful group.

FROM relative obscurity, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has moved into a strong position of reckoning in the polity. What started as a gathering of equals sitting down to share experiences and ideas has now grown into a strong pressure group, whose view is virtually relevant in almost all critical political decisions.

Hitherto, kudos for that visibility had gone to the immediate past chairman of the forum, DR. BUKOLA SARAKI, former governor of Kwara State, now a serving senator of the Federal Republic. While former Governor Victor Attah of Akwa-Ibom State and former Governor Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State attempted to give meaning to the NGF when they variously held the office of the chairman, SARAKI was said to have exhibited the inherent powers of the forum when he served as its chairman between 2006 and 2011. He was exceedingly close to the powers-that-be under the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, and was seen as one of the main insiders in government at the national level. During his tenure, the forum became a visible player in the polity, and it was obvious that from such a point, no one could ignore the group.

But much of the gains the NGF recorded under the immediate past Kwara State governor were largely in the area of political influence and power.

SARAKI’s tenure was able to wean the NGF as a potent political tool. With the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at a stage, controlling 28 of the 36 state governors, the word of the governors was almost becoming law. The NGF showed its predatory political power during the days of the late President Yar’Adua, while SARAKI held sway. While the whole nation was looking forward to the National Assembly to either impeache the then ill president or proclaim him unfit to continue in office, the NGF became a power player. Many of the lawmakers who should have taken independent decisions were said to be listening to their governors and then the federal lawmakers foot-dragged. The polity was forced to wait till some interest groups, including some members of the National Assembly, campaigned vigorously against the continuous delay in declaring Yar’Adua unfit. When it became obvious that the polity was becoming uncomfortable with the state of uncertainty around the late Yar’Adua’s health, the NGF also joined the path of public opinion and it was when the influential group gave some form of backing to the resolution of the political logjam that the National Assembly got the courage to go ahead with the now popular Doctrine of Necessity.

While the powers of the NGF have never been in doubt, it was obvious that much of its relevance before now were deployed in the area of politics. With the coming of the Rivers State governor, Chief Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, the tide appears to be changing. The NGF appears to be deliberately diverting its energy to the area of service delivery and welfare.

Notwithstanding the uproar that greeted the declaration by members of the NGF, earlier in June, that the implementation of the new minimum wage will be predicated on the review of revenue allocation formula, the intention still remained clear that the Governors’ Forum was not merely out to showcase the nakedness of its collective power. Everyone of the stakeholders in the polity seems to agree that the current revenue allocation formula in place at the federal level has outlived its usefulness.

After absorbing the outrage surrounding the declaration on the revenue formula, the NGF, under Amaechi, moved on to the practicality of stopping the planned industrial action by organised Labour originally fixed for July 20. From Sunday, July 17, tense atmosphere had started pervading the polity.

Workers had started massive mobilisation, preparatory to the three-day warning strike, as if it was the main strike. Their decision was apparently based on the feeling that the Federal Government and the governors were not ready to implement the new wage except with a fight. The governors have all arrived Abuja that Sunday to attend the series of meetings preceding the planned Labour strike.

The Rivers State governor immediately took charge, leaving no one in doubt that the welfare of the Nigerian workers and, indeed the entire people and the nation was uppermost in the minds of his colleagues and the NGF set-up. Members of the NGF had earlier agreed, at a meeting on that day, that they would pay the new minimum wage. That, however, did not douse the tension, as labour leaders insisted that the Wednesday strike must go on as planned.

Late on Monday, Amaechi’s Senior Media Adviser, Mr. David Iyofor, quoted the governor as further appealing to the organised labour to shelve the proposed strike. In a passionate appeal, the Governors’ Forum chairman, according to his media aide, called on the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to put off the planned strike, as government at all levels had agreed to pay the N18,000 minimum wage.
Iyofor, in the statement, said that the governor was appealing to the workers “For the sake of our country and in the interest of Nigeria.’’ The

statement indicated: “Labour should please not embark on the strike action tomorrow. With governors now agreeing to pay the minimum wage, I believe the fundamental issue that should have led to labour going on strike has been resolved. If there are other issues that are still outstanding, these can be easily resolved through dialogue.  We, the governors, have accepted to pay the N18, 000 minimum wage, which I believe is the main issue at stake.”

A close observer of the forum said in Abuja on Saturday that the coming of Amaechi at the helmsman of affairs of the NGF had coincided with the new lease of life the forum was being given, adding that the forum was currently directing its attention towards service to the Nigerian people.

“In the past, the NGF battled with an image problem and the general perception that the group is insensitive to the needs and general well-being of Nigerians. But all that now seems to be taking the back seat with the renewed energy put into the fight against the proposed Labour strike by all the governors. With Amaechi as the leader of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and the role he led the governors to play to avert the labour strike of last week, the forum is setting a new focus for itself,” said the observer.

To political watchers, the dedication of the NGF members to the push to avert the July 20 strike was a sign of new things to come from the forum.

Another source, who have closely being monitoring the activities of the forum, particularly in recent weeks, said: “The meeting between the organised labour and the Federal Government was deadlocked on Monday. Labour and the Federal Government team could also not reach an agreement on the issues and Labour was definitely set to go ahead with the three-day warning strike. But Governor Amaechi and his colleagues in the NGF would not go to sleep until the issues are resolved.

“It was a meeting between the labour leaders and the NGF on Tuesday that broke the ice. After many hours of deliberation, it was agreed that the strike be called off. Labour then went ahead to reach a similar agreement with the Federal Government, which was finally ratified before the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)”, he said.

With the Governor Chibuike  Rotimi Amaechi-led NGF now pushing for an amendment of the revenue allocation formula, which is also being called the quest for true federalism, more practical achievements may be on the way of the forum and the governors, and which may translate into a greater development for the nation.

On the role the Rivers State governor is playing in the new focus of the NGF, Iyofor confirmed that the achievements being attributed to his boss were natural, since, according to him, the man brought extreme commitment to whatever he was doing.

“As an individual, Governor Amaechi brings extreme commitment to whatever assignment or responsibility he is given. Over the years, Governor Amaechi has shown that, to be put in a position where you are able to offer service to the people is a rare privilege that must come with a strong commitment to serve. It  is that same spirit that Governor Amaechi has brought into the Nigeria Governors Forum”, he said.

Indeed, Nigerians are watching as Governor Amaechi and his colleagues continue in their strive to more meaning into public administration and effecive governance.

Ahmed’s Quest To Improve Kwara’s Fortunes

The Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, appears impatient to turn the fortunes of the state around, given his most recent body language. Abiola Azeez, who has been following his programmes, writes that with a template already in place, the governor needs no prodding to take off.

THE present Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed in Kwara State appears to be in a hurry to make strong impact on the lives of the people of the state. The resolve by the governor, few weeks to his assumption of duties, is not unconnected with the fact that the state has been yearning for growth and development for many years. That process, however, began with the activities of the immediate past government of SENATOR BUKOLA SARAKI

With many developmental strides of the past government, mostly in the areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, education and health, among others, political watchers in the state opined that Ahmed, a member of the think-tank of the two-term SARAKI-led administration, only has to sustain the tempo to earn recognition in Kwara State politics.

The general view is that the governor has to offer much more development plans to make the desired impact in the life of his people. Ahmed, who recently organised a retreat in Lagos for his lieutenants, seemed prepared for the task at hand, saying that he looked at governance from the angle of getting prepared to execute programmes that would be in tandem with the needs of the electorate. He seemed to be more at home with the idea of continuing with programmes initiated by his predecessor. Doing that, according to him, would entail carrying his supporters along.

One of such programmes, he said, was youth empowerment. “We have about 2.5 million populations and half of the figure is constituted by the youths and also half of the youths are those below 15 years. These people need to be carried along in terms of planning and programme formulation, rather than the  normal issue of road, water, health”, he said.

The current government of Kwara State is happy that its predecessor had set a good template for the take  off of the state on many grounds, and hence is prepared to use that as a platform for further development of the state. On this, the governor said, “We won’t jettison any of the programmes that the last administration had initiated, as long as it still has relevance for development and growth. We will come up with new ideas and keep very close to our people because whatever we intend doing must have meaning to them in terms of development, growth and security.”

The governor said that he is never been brow-beaten by the antics of the opposition, most especially those of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN); that he rather prefers to be more focussed on the scale of performance he had set  ahead of his first 100 days in office.

Few weeks after he was sworn in as the governor, Ahmed, after conducting an on-the-spot assessment of some of the yet-to-be-completed projects in the state, said his priority would be to complete all the ongoing projects, most especially those left uncompleted by his predecessor, before embarking on the next level of infrastructural development in the state. To him, projects abandonment not only amounted to wastage, but is also denying the people access to facilities they were due to enjoy.

The facilities so far inspected by the governor included the state Judges’ Quarters, Akerebiata Road, the Medical Diagnostic Centre, the Stadium Complex, and Metropolitan Square, all located in Ilorin, the state capital. He also inspected some road projects in Idofian-Fufu-Lajiki and Eruku-Koro.

He had inspected the Sharia Court of Appeal complex, where he assured the Grand Khadi, Justice Idrees Haroon, that befitting quarters would equally be provided for all khadis of the Sharia Court at the Judge’s Quarters in Ilorin. Also inspected were the Sulu Gambari Road, Alabi Owo Street, the Post-Office-ITC Junction Road, the Offa Garage-Michael Imoudu Road dualisation project and Idofian-Fufu-Lajiki road that was solely financed from the State/Local Government Joint Account.

The governor, who threatened to terminate some of the contracts after inspection, expressed regret over the level of work done on some of the projects, including the Medical Diagnostic Centre, Metropolitan Square, and the Akerebiata Road, saying that they were taking longer time than necessary to be completed.

Ahmed had summoned the contractor handling the Eruku-Koro Road project in Ekiti Local Government Area of the state,  Bal Engineering Limited, to his office over the company’s inability to complete the 9.5 kilometre road project on schedule.

He had also counselled the sub-contractor handling the Metropolitan Square project on the need to engage in ‘spontaneous financing’ from finance houses to complete the landscaping, drainage and car park facilities in the square, while he summoned the consultant and the contractor handling the project for a meeting at the Government House for status reports on some of  the contracts to determine the time of their completion.

Ahmed, who said he understood the financial constraints facing the contractors, added that the state government would ensure that they were properly funded within the arranged cash flow framework.

He had instructed the contractor handling some projects at the Stadium Complex to provide two training pitches and other essential facilities, contending that that the state government was committed to bequeathing a lasting legacy in infrastructural development in the state. Ahmed also directed that the Alabi-Owo Road project in Ilorin, awarded by his predecessor to Gambas Nigeria Limited, be revoked owing to poor execution, just as he ordered the contractor handling the Sulu-Gambari Road, Borini Prono, to move back to site.

The Alabi-Owo Road project, which was awarded in November 2009 at a cost of N20.8 billion for a completion period of four months, ought to have been handed over in March 2010. Yet, as at the time of inspection, the contractor handling the project was never on site, and neither did he send a representative to attend to the visiting governor, just as no equipment was sighted at the location.

Briefing the governor at the project site, the Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Ministry of Works, Engineer Ayo Samuel, said the contractor had been paid about N14 billion by the state government without any outstanding certificate before the road project was abandoned. It is the expectation of the people that the projects would impact positively on the socio-economic lives of the people of Kwara if completed.

The current administration has also embarked on the provision of employment opportunities to 2,000 registered unemployed youths  in the state through a scheme called the Kwara Bridge Empowerment Scheme (KWABES).

The scheme, which aims to empower the youth through employment generation, will also capture all unemployed youths on the data bank and absorb 80 per cent of members of the scheme into permanent employment within the first 365 days of the new administration. The government said the youths would be trained in skills acquisition and entrepreneurship, and that it would also support them in the establishment of small and medium-scale enterprises through management, funding and marketing.

Political differences between the strongman of Kwara politics, OLOYE OLUSOLA SARAKI, his son, who is also the immediate past governor of the state, Senator BUKOLA SARAKI, and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, has been formally and amicably resolved in the interest of peace, unity and progress of the state. In this regard, two committees were set up to look into the issue of harmonisation between the PDP and the ACPN towards giving all members of the two parties a sense of belonging.

The reconciliation was made at a programme tagged, “Special Reconciliation Prayer” held at the Ilofa Road Government Reservation Area (GRA) residence of OLOYE SARAKI with a multitude of muslim clerics, led by the Chief Imam of the Maraba Mosque, Sheik Shuaib Abdulsalam, who prayed for peaceful co-existence among the political leaders and people of the state.

Speaking at the event, OLOYE SARAKI said it had been his prayer for 40 years that good governance and quality development should be entrenched in the state, thanking God for standing by the successive governments in the state, and  for the unity achieved.

With the tempo of development already put in place since the assumption of duty on May 29, political watchers in the state believed that Governor Ahmed only need to start a gradual implementation of the programmes and projects to move the state to the next level of development, starting with what he has for the people in his first 100 days in office.

 

A Goodwill Message by His Excellency Senator Bukola Saraki to Commemorate With Nigerians on Her 52nd Independence Anniversary

This is a day on which we pay homage to the daughters and sons of Nigeria whose vision and tenacity of purpose won us our independence. For a long time, our country has not found it easy in ensuring that our history is written so that in the future, our people will be able to draw useful lessons from the events that have led to the creation of Nigeria from the 1914 amalgamation and subsequently the October 1st 1960 independence. We have come of age as a people, grappled with many challenges, some of these have adversely affected our level of development, but more importantly these challenges has made us stronger and more united as a nation. The promise of independence is yet to be fully felt in all spheres of our lives; however this does not diminish our commitment and hope for the Nigeria of our dream.

The last one year has been very tumultuous in the history of our dear country, from security challenges, to economic uncertainty, oil spillages, flooding, and most recently food crisis. Our country could not have been immune to all these challenges as some are natural occurrences, man-made or a result of global economic crisis. Notwithstanding, we have made remarkable strides, especially in our steady march to freedom and the rule of law.

Rather than dwell on our many shortcomings, we should celebrate and acknowledge the sacrifices made by our founding fathers and all Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora in ensuring the protection of our freedom. As we think about the meaning of freedom, we cannot think of it apart from the sacrifices it has taken for us to come to the point where we are today. Our nation is blessed with so much even if things do not always go the way we want. The qualities of our human resources alone exemplify the country’s huge potential.

Everywhere in the world the creativity, talent and the professional expertise of Nigerians is never in doubt. Such was the spirit demonstrated last week by committed individuals involved in the rescue efforts to the flood victims even before relief materials came from the government. Indeed, the rich talents and rich human qualities given to us by God will enable us overcome the challenges posed by the global economic downturn and our inadequacies in the management of the nation’s economy.

While I am honoured to represent Kwara Central at the national Assembly, I am particularly humbled by my experience as a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology. I am continually reminded of the daunting task ahead and the need to enact laws that will better the lives of our people. I will continue to fight to protect the freedoms our forefathers envisioned as this nation celebrates her 52nd birthday. I am humbled when I consider the long tradition of public service that has been set as an example throughout our history. We should all be proud of so many individuals who have put service to others first in their lives, making this a caring and compassionate nation.

My resolve through collaborative effort is to focus on the things that matter and which will enable the economy recover some degree of stability. We will do this in cooperation with organised labour, the business community and with industry leaders.
As we reflect, and celebrate our 52nd independence anniversary I urge us all to continue to rekindle hope and in the spirit of togetherness we can achieve more for our common prosperity.

May God bless Nigeria.
Long Live Kwara,
Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria.

World Summit Of Legislators (Globe International) Commends Senator Bukola Saraki on NOSDRA Amendment Bill

Speaking on the blog of the organization Adam Mathews the Secretary General of the organization said “it is a very positive initiative by @Bukolasaraki a Nigerian Senator for amending the law to introduce penalties for oil spills”.

The bill Titled – A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AMEND THE NATIONAL OIL SPILL DECTATION AND RESPONSE ACT 2006 TO PROVIDE FOR PENALTIES AND COMPENSATION FOR OIL SPILLS AND FOR OTHER RELATED MATTERS 2012, aims at strengthening the institutional and regulatory capacity of the National Oil Spill Detection and Regulatory Agency to proactively manage oil spill in a much more robust and effective manner, create clear and specific regime of penalties and responsibilities for oil spills, as well as provide a consistent guide and procedure for assessing and accessing compensation for oil spill and other civil liabilities.

Therefore, GLOBE International wants to ensure that such a laudable effort by Senator Saraki is shared as part of their news letter that will go to all major people engaged in environmental policy internationally. GLOBE International is an association of legislators worldwide with the mission to respond to urgent environmental challenges through the development and advancement of complementary legislation. GLOBE, which is headquartered within the complex of the British Parliament has recently agreed to advance common legislative responses to the major global environmental and sustainable development challenges. They are headquartered in the UK, with the British Parliament and have country affiliates worldwide.

In a statement issued by Mr. Innocent Onah, Special Assistant (Strategic Initiatives) to Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the participation of Senator A.B. Saraki at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development Rio+20 Conference in June 2012, paved the way for Nigeria to start participating in global environmental legislative activities, with a view to improving our visibility and role in international environmental cooperation. Mr. Innocent told News Agencies that GLOBE’s President and Secretary General have both recognized the commitment of Senator A.B. Saraki in applying best practices to tackle Nigeria’s environmental challenges and have urged the National Assembly to establish GLOBE Nigeria, which will stand side-by-side with legislators of other countries like the United States, Canada, Germany, China, Brazil and the United Kingdom. Such an initiative will not only put the National Assembly amongst our peers in international environmental management, but would also show that the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology is interested in bettering the lives of Nigerians through strategic legislative instruments, that would encourage good behaviour and promote environmental responsibility, he said.

Senator Saraki Speaks on Passage of Ocuupational Safety and Health Bill

I am excited the Senate was able to pass the Occupational Safety and Health Bill — it is a bill seeking to ensure the safety, health and welfare of workers in the country.

Sponsored by Senator Chris Anyanwu (APGA-Imo), it also seeks to repeal and re-enact the Factory Act 2004, and establish the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health and Other Related Matters, 2012.

The document was first presented to the Senate as an executive bill but it was re-presented as a private member bill by Senator Anyanwu, and it went through second reading on 17th May 2012.

It was then forwarded for further legislative action to the Joint Committees on Employment, Labour and Productivity, Health and Establishment and Public Services.

According to the amended bill, which had 111 clauses, “any employer who fails to ensure safety and health of all employees at workplace commits an and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than N500,000 or both imprisonment and fine in the case of an individual and a fine of less than N2 million for both body corporate; and, in addition, each director, manager or officer of the body corporate shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not less than one year or to a fine of not less than N500,000.”

Clause 31 (1) of the bill also states that “an employer shall, after being notified by a female employee that she is pregnant, adapt the working conditions of the female employee in such manner as to prevent occupational exposure.

“This is to ensure that the embryo is afforded the same level of protection as required for members of the public, and the employer shall not consider the notification of pregnancy as a reason to exclude the employee from work.

“The employer is also required by this law to ensure that any female employee that is pregnant or nursing a baby is not exposed to ionising radiation at the work place.”

Senator Bukola Saraki a member of Senate Committee on health speaking to press said he believes after the Bill is fully harmonized, it will get the assent of the president in good time for it to become law that will significantly improve the quality of life in the work place.

World Summit Of Legislators (Globe International) Commends Senator Bukola Saraki on NOSDRA Amendment Bill

Speaking on the blog of the organization Adam Mathews the Secretary General of the organization said “it is a very positive initiative by @Bukolasaraki a Nigerian Senator for amending the law to introduce penalties for oil spills”.

The bill Titled – A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AMEND THE NATIONAL OIL SPILL DECTATION AND RESPONSE ACT 2006 TO PROVIDE FOR PENALTIES AND COMPENSATION FOR OIL SPILLS AND FOR OTHER RELATED MATTERS 2012, aims at strengthening the institutional and regulatory capacity of the National Oil Spill Detection and Regulatory Agency to proactively manage oil spill in a much more robust and effective manner, create clear and specific regime of penalties and responsibilities for oil spills, as well as provide a consistent guide and procedure for assessing and accessing compensation for oil spill and other civil liabilities.

Therefore, GLOBE International wants to ensure that such a laudable effort by Senator Saraki is shared as part of their news letter that will go to all major people engaged in environmental policy internationally. GLOBE International is an association of legislators worldwide with the mission to respond to urgent environmental challenges through the development and advancement of complementary legislation. GLOBE, which is headquartered within the complex of the British Parliament has recently agreed to advance common legislative responses to the major global environmental and sustainable development challenges. They are headquartered in the UK, with the British Parliament and have country affiliates worldwide.

In a statement issued by Mr. Innocent Onah, Special Assistant (Strategic Initiatives) to Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the participation of Senator A.B. Saraki at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development Rio+20 Conference in June 2012, paved the way for Nigeria to start participating in global environmental legislative activities, with a view to improving our visibility and role in international environmental cooperation. Mr. Innocent told News Agencies that GLOBE’s President and Secretary General have both recognized the commitment of Senator A.B. Saraki in applying best practices to tackle Nigeria’s environmental challenges and have urged the National Assembly to establish GLOBE Nigeria, which will stand side-by-side with legislators of other countries like the United States, Canada, Germany, China, Brazil and the United Kingdom. Such an initiative will not only put the National Assembly amongst our peers in international environmental management, but would also show that the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology is interested in bettering the lives of Nigerians through strategic legislative instruments, that would encourage good behaviour and promote environmental responsibility, he said.

Senator Bukola Saraki Speaks on Two Recent Environmental Disasters in Nigeria

Abuja 15th August 2012 – The Senate Committee on Environment has received with sadness, reports in the media of two environmental disasters, which has rocked the country the past few days. First was the reported Oil Spill along the Coastline of Ibeno in Akwa Ibom State; and then in quick succession a destructive flood, which swept through 6 local government areas of Plateau state leaving in its wake not less than 33 people dead, thousands homeless and the entire South of Plateau inaccessible. This is indeed too much to bear in the light of what has been a trying time for our country in terms of security and the challenge of everyday live in the country.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee – Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki on behalf of himself and the Senate Committee on Environment commiserates with the families of those who have lost their loved ones in the disaster and urges NEMA to work hand in hand with the State and Local governments of the affected local governments to provide living support and temporary shelter as may be needed.

The Committee again reiterates its commitment to work assiduously with the entire National Assembly and Federal Government to improve our environmental governance system through laws and regulations that can help stem these devastation. We call on our government agencies from the federal to the local governments to ensure better compliance to environmental standards and regulations in the country. We should as a matter of urgency begin implementing proper evacuation of blocked drains, stop indiscriminate erection of structures along canals and drainage ways.

The Committee will do all within its powers to instigate proper and effective response of agencies of government to ensure that the impact of this devastations are mitigated and closely monitor these unfortunate incidences with a view to bringing care to our people who need some support as a result of these incidences.

Similarly, the reported oil spill in Akwa Ibom has once again spotlighted this on-going environmental challenge in the oil industry. We must state that, it is quite disheartening that a Spill of this nature occurs in this country and the responsible Company refuses to own up to its liabilities. This lackadaisical attitude towards Oil Spills must be strongly discouraged by both our Regulatory Agencies and our Laws.

This is one reason among others this Committee since inception has continued to work with stakeholders in the environment and oil industry to find lasting solution to this menace. Just as we have observed in other countries, the Chief Executive of responsible Oil operating company(s) should be held responsible.

The Senate committee on Environment and Ecology totally rejects the casual approach and inconclusive strategy being used by responsible stakeholders whenever there’s an oil spill. We have found out that suspected oil operating companies easily make reference to oil finger printing procedure to determine the responsible oil operating company which never produces any conclusive report. What we may recommend is to shut down any oil facility that is traced as the source of an oil spill, until a responsible party emerges, clean up, compensate and take liability.

This situation pushes to the forefront again, the need for effective regulatory measures to ensure that Oil Practices in this Country are according to international best practices. It is the committee’s hope that the NOSDRA Amendment Bill before the Senate will pass before the end of the year, because we are convinced that oil spilling is not inevitable. It can be stopped and we are determined to bring it to a stop so that we can bequeath our generation unborn with a livable environment.

We commend officials of the relevant agencies that have been deployed to the site to conduct investigations into the cause of the spill. We are awaiting the outcome of their investigations and hope it will be conclusive.

Signed:
Bamikole Omishore
SA Media and Advocacy 
Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki.

Condolence To A True African Leader

It was with heavy heart that I received the news of the passing away of President of Ghana, John Atta Evans Mills. The news came to me as a shock and we can only pray for the good people of Ghana as they go through this sad moment.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with the late president during his time in New York on Leave few months ago. He was very optimistic about his country, ours and Africa as a whole. He will forever remain in the memory of his people and all those who knew him closely as a true patriot of his native land, having devoted his life to the struggle and good governance in Ghana.

On behalf of the good people of Kwara and myself, I express my deepest sympathy and profound condolences to the entire nation of Ghana, most especially his relatives and close associates, May God bless the Atta Mills family, the government of Ghana at this trying moment.

I also use this opportunity to congratulate the newly sworn in president Mr Jonh Mahama, I urge the people of Ghana to support him to forge ahead with the good policies and advocacy that Mr Mills was known for to uphold the country’s stability in this trying period.

I wish President John Mahama, every success in the exercise of his mandate and I pray that his leadership will continue to promote peace, stability and development in Africa.

Office of Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki