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Hardship: Lagos Assembly Asks Sanwo-Olu To Summon Stakeholders’ Meeting

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The Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday asked Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to urgently summon a stakeholders’ meeting to address the current hardship experienced by residents of the state for the government to adopt sustainable solutions beyond palliatives.

The lawmakers noted that though the current economic situation pervades the entire Nigeria and is mostly global in outlook, Lagos State and its local governments must do more to ameliorate the suffering in the land.

The House also advised leaders and statesmen to join forces with the government and play persuasive roles instead of inciting the people against the government.

Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said the situation called for a stakeholders’ meeting for the input of everyone including members of the National and state Assembly as well as local government chairmen.

“No doubt, there is a challenge before us as representatives of the people and it is the duty of all of us to proffer solutions.

“This is a situation that started long ago in Nigeria and was graduating. Unfortunately, we are facing this now. The dollar issue did not start now. The prices of food and how farmers had been prevented from going to farms as a result of insecurity did not start now.

“The most unfortunate thing about it has to do with the comments coming from some leaders of the country. Instead of using their wisdom to appeal to the people, they use their words to incite people against the government as if they have not been in the country before now.

“We cannot leave the Federal Government alone to proffer solutions to our problems. There is no ‘abracadabra’ about it.

“The immediate concern is to appeal to our people. Protests and violence will not solve anything but take us backwards. Nobody prayed for the current situation but we must work hand-in-hand to take us away from this mess.
It is not the president’s fault, neither is it the governor’s fault,” Dr. Obasa said while commending Governor Sanwo-Olu for recently starting the Trader Money programme through which 15,000 traders have benefitted.

The Speaker directed that the commissioners for agriculture and transportation, Ms. Ruth Abisola Olusanya and Oluwaseun Osiyemi, respectively as well as related parastatals and agencies be invited to brief the House on their plans to make life more comfortable for the people just as he urged serious sanctions against those who hoard dollars in the country.

“All this while, we have been talking about sports to take our youth off the streets as we have seen in other countries. Let us inject money into it and make it attractive so that they would be engaged. Our system of education must also be adjusted to emphasise what students can become on their own without seeking or applying for jobs.

“There is a need for orientation and sensitisation. There are a lot of complaints and negatives out there. The government should also embark on campaigns and orientation to make the people know the real situation and what is being done. The government’s voice must be louder than those who are hell-bent on destroying the country,” Dr. Obasa said while lamenting the current prices of cement and iron even when most of the materials are locally sourced.

Earlier speaking under ‘Matter of Urgent Public Importance’, Hon. Segun Adebisi Ege representing Ojo Constituency 1 lamented the hardship rocking the state.

Ege also urged that Governor Sanwo-Olu be called upon to subsidise transportation and prices of food items in the state.

In his contribution, Deputy Majority Leader, Richard Adedamola Kasunmu, said there was a need for the government to bring out actionable plans to solve the economic problem in the country.

On his part, Hon. Adewale Temitope said the entire economic situation must be looked at holistically for a solution while Hon. Femi Saheed noted that other countries are facing the same situation with the price of a bag of rice over N120,000 in Cameroon and Ghana, is approximately N97,000. He emphasised the need to improve agriculture.

Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu stressed the need for the Lagos government to prioritise power while Nureni Akinsanya of Mushin Constituency 1 advocated for food banks in Lagos State to make residents buy at cheaper rates.

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Tinubu Under Fire Over National Anthem Bill, Says ‘Hungry People Don’t Sing

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Some Nigerians have expressed outrage over the bill President Bola Tinubu signed into law on Wednesday morning.

The bill, which was simultaneously introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives last week, received an accelerated consideration and passage.

The speed with which both chambers of the National Assembly considered and passed the bill at a time Nigerians are facing more pressing issues occasioned by rising inflation and security challenges, has been criticised.

While launching the National Anthem at the National Assembly, Tinubu commended the lawmakers.

““Please, let’s continue to collaborate and build our country. We have no other institutions or personality that will help us unless we do it ourselves. Let us work together to build our nation not only for us but generations yet unborn”, he said.

‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’, composed by the Britons, was the national anthem of Nigeria used from Independence in 1960 until 1978, when it was replaced by a new anthem, ‘Arise, O Compatriots.’

But with the new law, ‘Arise, O Compatriots’, will give way for ‘Nigeria, we hail Thee’.

While a few persons have commended the president for signing it into law, others see it as a mispriority.

On X, a social media user, @Zarmaomar, wrote: “The long-awaited national anthem bill that will solve the issues of insecurity, hunger, corruption and create job opportunities has been officially signed by the President…”

@Mudiaga247 said: “How does signing this bill help the Drowning Economy

@KennyNuga: “Misplaced priority . we need laws mandating all vehicles to shift off the road when an Ambulance is approaching. we need laws that criminalize bullying in our institutions.”

@RealQueenBee_: “This will now be an achievement for the Tinubu administration, reverting back to the colonial anthem.”
@Ikepicano: “did he know what he signed?”

@PatoEner: “This government is never implementing policies that would alleviate the poverty in the economy. Or do they think hungry people sing the national anthem?”

@DoublePrince001: “Within 7 days it was sorted….. Let’s talk about minimum wage or what will benefit Nigerians… It will take months and years.”

@iam_damayor: “Congratulations Nigerians, we now have a new National Anthem. When you want to buy anything, just recite it and you get the 2015 price of that goods/service.”

@That_Ondo_Boy: “As for me, I’m in support of this Old National Anthem ooo. Tinubu you do this one oooo. Now, lets sign to bill the old exchange rate, old food price to as at the time of the old National Anthem.”

Analysts, CSOs fault bill

In an interview with Daily Trust, analysts and civil society organisations argued that the resolution of the National Assembly to revert to the old National Anthem was a misplacement of priority, and also a sign of disconnection with reality.

The Country Director of Action Aid Nigeria (AAN), Mr. Andrew Mamedu, in an interview with Daily Trust, said the bill to revert to the old National Anthem “is an absolute misplacement of priorities and an abuse of legislative privilege, especially given the numerous pressing issues facing the nation that remain unaddressed”.

He stated: “While the National Anthem is a symbol of our heritage, the urgent and concurrent approval of this bill stands in stark contrast to the lack of prioritisation and accelerated legislative action on critical national matters. Issues such as security, economic stability, education, healthcare and infrastructure development are in dire need of attention and resources.

“It is profoundly disappointing and frankly outrageous that the National Anthem is being prioritised over these vital concerns”, he stressed.

Similarly, Yiaga Africa’s Senior Communications Officer, Mr. Mark Amaza, told one of our correspondents that the actions of the federal lawmakers on the issue were “a misplacement of priorities”.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with our current National Anthem that warrants a change. Not only that, this episode shows how disconnected our legislators are from the challenges of Nigeria that at this critical juncture, they chose to prioritise a needless return to our former National Anthem”, Amaza said.

The Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, also decried that Nigeria continued to exhibit a disturbing trend of misplaced priorities.

According to him, it is disheartening to see the nation trapped in a cycle of ineffective leadership.

“Our senators, elected to represent the masses, seem disconnected from the pressing needs of the people. Who among the citizens indicated that changing the National Anthem was a priority?

“Nigerians are hungry, angry, and deeply disappointed. Trust in the government is at an all-time low.

“Changing the National Anthem does not address the urgent issues we face: it doesn’t put food on our tables, create jobs, improve security, provide reliable electricity, clean water, good roads, or quality healthcare,” Zikirullahi said.

On his part, a former senator from Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Senator Shehu Sani, said the parliament should have consulted widely before tampering with the National Anthem.

He said that altering the National Anthem without wide consultations would be seen as an attempt to dissolve Nigeria.

Commenting on his X handle, the former lawmaker said: “Tempering with or changing the National Anthem or National Pledge of Nigeria should be done after wider public consultation and should be factored in the process of constitutional amendments.”

A seasoned journalist and former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, also faulted the lawmakers’ decision to reintroduce the old National Anthem.
He said: “The excessive embrace of the past is part of the metaphysical nostalgia that refused to appreciate the political economic choices and wrong leadership recruitment processes that led us to the deep pit we have been dug into.

“Instead of searching for far more rational and scientifically relevant instruments of problem solving, our lawmakers think an empty gesture of nostalgia offers an easy route.

“There is also an unacceptable demographic tyranny that Opeyemi Bamidele and his colleagues are attempting to impose on Nigeria, with the plan to revert to the old National Anthem. It is an anthem that would resonate with the generation born before independence and maybe immediately after. Let us unpack the facts”, he said in an opinion article published in Daily Trust on Saturday.

Lawmakers’ move in order – NOA DG

The Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lanre Issa-Oninlu, said even though the bill was yet to become a law, the move was not a bad one.
“You see, there is so much in words that we speak and we hear. So, in communication, the impact of our statement resonates with us. There are some anthems that you listen to and then you see a call to it. They call you to action. They ask you to act and do certain things. And there are some that are just flags that are just like any other song.

“And anytime you sing them, you don’t feel any psychological attachment. No any feeling. It doesn’t call up any passion in you. It doesn’t really speak to your emotion, and doesn’t call up to your sentiment.

“And it’s important that you have an anthem that connects with your sentiment; that calls you to action so that when carrying out those actions, the impact of the anthem will now reflect in our lives”, he said in an interview on Trust TV’s Daily Politics.

Senate, Reps’ spokespersons silent

Efforts to get reactions of the spokespersons of the two chambers of the National Assembly were unsuccessful.

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I’ll Never Sing New National Anthem – Oby Ezekwesili Vows

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has vowed never to sing the newly adopted national anthem, ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’.

Ezekwesili said she would continue singing the previous national anthem, ‘Arise, O compatriots

Her remark was in response to President Bola Tinubu’s confirmation of ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’ as the latest national anthem.

Posting on X, Ezekwesili wrote: “Let it be known to all and sundry that I, Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili will whenever asked to sing the Nigerian National Anthem sing:

1. Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fatherland
With love and strength and faith
The labour of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.

2. Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leader’s right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice reign.

She added: “This is my own National Anthem and let it be known that no one can suppress my right to dissent an obnoxious “law” that is repugnant to all that is of good conscience in Nigeria. Whatever else is #NotMyNationalAnthem.

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ARISE NEWS MANAGING EDITOR’S DAUGHTER BAGS MASTERS FROM HARVARD UNIVERSITY

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The daughter of Arise News Managing Editor, Christian Ogodo, was among graduands who bagged various degrees from the prestigious Havard University in the United States.

Oghenetega Steffi Eberechukwu Ogodo, was conferred with a masters degree in Urban Planning of the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University on 23rd May, 2024.

Tega was also a Bloemberg Leadership Fellow, who did her industrial training with the Rochester City Council in New York, while her field work had the theme: “People must feed,” postulating that there must be decent and nutritious food even for the downtrodden people in society.

Tega is a graduate of the University of Lagos with a Second Class Honours [Upper Division] from the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, majoring in Urban and Regional Planning.

She is the daughter of Nigeria’s foremost News Anchor on Arise News on WEEKEND NEWSNIGHT, Christian Ogodo, who is the Managing Editor of Arise News Media Group.

She is currently working with an engineering consulting firm in Chicago that specialises in logistics.

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