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The Quest For An Incorruptible And Proficient Secretary To The Government Of The Federation

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In a matter of hours the curtains will fall on the first tenure of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration, as we are ushered into a new dispensation that promises Nigeria a better deal and an accelerated improvement on the masterly successes recorded in the last four years.

The Team that will work with the President in the coming dispensation will determine greatly the pace of progress Nigeria will record in the next four years. It is therefore of prime importance that these individuals be finely selected to reflect the sterling attributes of incorruptibility, proficiency, altruism and above all patriotism which President Muhammadu Buhari espouses.

One of the most sensitive of these appointments which require thorough scrutiny and conscionable assessment of the pedigree, character and proven credentials of the appointee to be so appointed is that of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation is expected to “ensure the effective coordination and monitoring of the implementation of government policies and programmes for the overall development of the country” and is saddled amongst others with the following critical responsibilities;
i. Coordinating policy design and formulation by Ministries, Departments and Agencies for approval by Government;
ii. Serving as Secretary to the Council of State, the Federal Executive Council and other
Constitutional Councils, which are chaired by the President;
iii. Coordinating the activities of Ministries and Government Agencies on the implementation of Government decisions, policies and programmes
iv) Dealing with constitutional, political and socio-economic matters as may be referred to the Presidency;
v. Coordinating the appointments to Headship of Statutory Bodies, Commissions and Agencies by the President;
vi) Liaison with Secretaries to State Governments; et al.

To underscore the significance of this critical office, nations always put forward their best when it comes to selection and appointment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation or Secretary of State as most nations choose to refer. If the right parameters are to be adopted in the appointment of a new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, only a minuscule few will meet up the set standards.

A meticulous search through the gallery of leaders and public servants has revealed one such patriot with towering antecedents, pedigree, immutable character and astounding credentials in the person of Dame Pauline Kedem Tallen. Rising from humble beginnings as a class teacher to the zenith of political leadership as one of the first female Ministers at the dawn of democracy in 1999 and first female Deputy Governor from Northern Nigeria, her leadership/stewardship odyssey has seen her rise steadily and meteorically all at once as a fulfilled public servant whose career is laden with a plethora of sterling achievements traversing education, politics, administration, human development, women empowerment and peace building. In 1986, she was elected as Councillor from where her lustre of excellence shone bright to elicit her appointment as Commissioner in the Plateau State Ministry of Social Development, Youth, Sports and Culture, and later Commissioner in the Ministry of Health. She served as a member of the Presidential Inauguration Committee where she still exhibited the rare streak of diligence she is known for. Thus leading to her appointment as Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, from 1999 to 2003. In 2005, she served as Chairman Governing Board, Raw Materials Research and Development (RMRDC). In the same year, 2005, her infectious patriotism merited her conferment with the priceless Award of National Honors of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), by His Excellency, President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR in appreciation of her unwavering and invaluable contribution to national development.
By dint of hardwork, sheer commitment, proven track records and an unquenchable desire to better the lot of her people, she was elected as Deputy Governor of Plateau from 2007 to 2011 making her the first ever female Deputy Governor in Northern Nigeria. In recognition of her vast political touch across the nation, she was appointed National Adviser of The National Campaign Women Council APC under the Chairperson of Mrs. Aisha Buhari, as well as Member Board of Trustees of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in 2015. She is presently the Chairman, Governing Board of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).

It is noteworthy to emphasise that throughout her leadership sojourn from the grassroots to the national level she has maintained fervid and unbroken incorruptibility fused with her excellent performance record which earned her a presidential commendation. She continues to maintain a steadfast walk on the almost solitary pathway of integrity, hard work, discipline, decorum, respect for work ethics/ rules, adherence to due process and above all maintaining a finely trained skill for inclusive leadership that addresses the felt needs of the Masses. A renowned nationalist, detribalized Nigerian and highly revered global citizen, she is famously quoted to have said “You know me well. I am not a tribalist. I do not treat people based on sentiments. I believe in fairness to all”. Indeed these are exceptional qualities a candidate for appointment as Secretary to the Government of the Federation should possess.

It is also worthy of note to emphasise the calm mien of this altruistic patriot with a controlled temperament, composure, exposure and religious tolerance which qualifies her for the job. She is also widely travelled with vast diplomatic reach which will help strengthen multilateral and bilateral relationships with other nations. We must reiterate that In all her Public life she has never been associated with corruption. She is known for selfless service and humanitarian endeavors. She has always been a Mother to the poor, widows, women and youths irrespective of where they come from. She will therefore add value to President Buhari’s government in her capacity as Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Another plus is her fervid knack for quality education which spurred her on as the first female to establish a private nursery and primary school in Plateau state – Shendam Private School – which has produced a lot of innovative front liners in the medical profession, law, engineering and several other critical sectors. It is no strange fact that there exists a strong nexus between quality education and development. It is therefore empirical to decipher the fact that Dame Pauline Tallen will contribute greatly in redirecting our national educational policy for the “town to meet the gown” on a trajectory of innovative development.

Finally, it is important to draw attention to the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari has promised inclusive governance and involvement of women in the top hierarchy of national leadership. This is clearly in consonance with global trends where women have been appointed/elected to top positions where they performed creditably well. Women such as Angela Merkel, German Chancellor; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Jacinda Arden, Prime Minister of New Zealand; and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President of Croatia – whose display of support for her national team at the 2018 FIFA world cup set a shining example for world leaders and inspired the Team to the finals of the competition; have all left indelible marks on the world leadership arena. In the United States of America, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton respectively served as Secretary of State at various times and impacted positively on governance and policy matters.

Undoubtedly, posterity has thrown up Dame Pauline Kedem Tallen as that woman who will give the required Filip to the good intentions of Mr. President (as Secretary to the Government of the Federation) in the coming administration, measure up to and even surpass the achievements of other female world leaders and strengthen efficiency, transparency, prudence, rapid development and good governance for the accelerated forward voyage of our dear nation Nigeria. The best times are surely here for Nigerians as President Muhammadu Buhari is poised to work with an incorruptible and roundly competent Team.

God bless Nigeria!

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Yahaya Bello risks disqualification over ‘double registration’

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Natasha Akpoti, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has asked a federal high court in Abuja to disqualify Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi, from the November 16 gubernatorial election, over alleged double registration as a voter.

Akpoti was a governorship candidate but she was disqualified by the electoral commission over the invalid nomination of her running mate.

In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1221/2019 and dated October 10, Akpoti said Bello allegedly committed the offence of double registration on May 23, 2017 at the government house in Lokoja after he had reportedly registered as a voter in Abuja in 2011.

The suit has the All Progressives Congress (APC) (first defendant) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) (second defendant) as defendants.

Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed it on her behalf.

Akpoti formulated three questions for determination by the court which reads; “Whether Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the 1st Defendant (APC) in the forthcoming Kogi governorship poll being organised by the 2nd Defendant (INEC) has by his act of double registration committed a wrongful act capable of disqualifying him as a voter or person to be voted for having violated the provisions of Section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

“Whether Yahaya Bello, candidate of the 1st defendant, is on account of his double registration as a voter, a fit and proper person to be sponsored as a governorship to candidate by the 1st Defendant or allowed by the 2nd Defendant to contest as a governorship candidate the forthcoming Kogi state governorship election.

“Whether Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the 1st defendant in the forthcoming Kogi state governorship election is not liable to be disqualified and/or barred from participating or contesting in and/or voting for any political office for the next 10 years, pursuant to his flagrant violation of the provisions of Section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).”

The plaintiff further asked the court to declare that Bello violated section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) by virtue of his act of double registration as a voter, and a declaration that he is liable to be disqualified and/or barred from contesting, participating and/or voting in the November 16 Kogi governorship poll “on account of his wrongful act of gross violation of Section 24(E) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), which act of violation robs him of the capacity or vires to contest the forthcoming Kogi State governorship election.”

She also prayed for an order of the court disqualifying and/or barring Bello, or directing INEC to disqualify the APC candidate from the governorship race or for any political office for the next 10 years and an order of mandamus compelling or mandating INEC to investigate the allegation of double registration against Bello and as well prosecute him on completion of his first tenure of office as governor in January, 2020, among others.

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‘They want war’ — Oshiomhole reacts to ‘attack’ on residence in Benin

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The Benin residence of Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was reportedly attacked by hoodlums on Saturday evening. 

Speaking after the alleged incident, Oshiomhole said the attackers and their sponsors want a war.

He said those behind the attack are bent on creating a crisis in the state, but that they do not have the numbers to fight dirty.

He asked his supporters to be clam, and to not return ”madness for madness”.

“In a moment like this, it is not madness for madness because many of you I see here, in 2007, you were already strong. During my second term in 2012, you were already strong; Even in 2016, some of you were already deployed as party agents,” he said.

“These people want to create what has not happen for a very long time. They want war and want to cause crisis. They are boasting that they want to crush and crush people. Go and buy crushing machine.

“No man born of a woman can change what God has said. And if God says, no, who can say yes? My own is don’t let them drag you out of the bathroom like Igbo man says and be running after them like the town naked mad men because we are not mad.

“If it comes to the ruffle ruffle that he wants, they don’t have the number. You know that when you start to tell lies, you will have to lie many times to sustain one lie.

“We will not condescend to their level.  But, let me say this. It is clear, Nigeria is a free country. There is freedom of association. Thee is freedom of worship. There is freedom of religion. There is freedom of expression. So, nobody in Nigeria can harass you. Just be the good guys that you are.

“My weapon which is the truth, is more powerful than the weapon of the armed forces in the world. Have I threatened any of you? Have I ever sent any of you to prison? How many of you …have I ever said to any of you that if you do not follow me, I will send you to prison?

“…But, the tradition of Edo people is that if you do something and your father is not happy, he will call you home and say my son, don’t do this again.

“As a father or mother, maturity is the ability to change the habit that you are not happy about. There is no wisdom to do as if you are an angel who has never sinned? Those who want to cast the first stone, may God bless them.

Simon Egbebulam, spokesman of Oshiomhole, told TheCable that the APC national chairman was at a friend’s birthday party when thugs besieged his residence.

He said the thugs, allegedly sponsored by the state government, were repelled by security agents.

”Security operatives and youths of the APC in Edo state on Friday repelled attack by thugs suspected yo be loyal to the state government at the residence of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in Okorotun Street, Government Reservation Area, Benin City,” he said.

“Oshiomhole came for the purpose of a function that took place in Protea hotel which was his aim of coming to Benin City from Abuja.

“While he was away on the function, some thugs believed to be in the other camp, blocked the entrance to his residence, fanning the embers of war.

“Security men on ground dislodge the hoodlums from gaining entrance into the residence. Brave APC youths also resisted the thugs who took to their heel.”

The Edo state government has denied having knowledge of the attack.

“We have no knowledge of the attack. We have also reached out to the Police, and they affirmed that they do not know about such an attack,” it said in a statement issued by Crusoe Osagie, special adviser to the governor on media and communication strategy.

Oshiomhole and Godwin Obaseki, governor of the state, have been having a running battle spawned by political differences.

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I won’t appoint aides from other states – Governor Oyetola

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Governor Gboyega Oyetola has vowed not to appoint political aides from other states as it was no longer fashionable because indigenes of the state rejected it.

 

The Osun State Governor who made the annoucement at Iwo where the former National Commissioner of the National Hajj Commission and renowned journalist, Alhaji Liad Tella was turbaned as the Asiwaju Muslimi of Iwo land, assured indigenes of working to improve their lives with worthwhile projects and infrastructure. 

He further disclosed that all his political appointees are indigenes of the state which according to him is a move to stop the use of “imported” politicians as political office holders.

Governor Oyetola’s predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola worked with commissioners and aides who were from Lagos and other parts of the country.. 

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