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Reforms: Atiku asks Tinubu to learn from Argentina, says ‘willing’ to discuss with govt

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Former Vice President has called on President Bola Tinubu to learn some lessons from the approach to reforms adopted by President Javier Milei of Argentina.

Atiku said this in a press release Sunday, noting that “President Javier Milei of Argentina was sworn into office on 10 December 2023. He inherited a worse condition than Nigeria’s.

“But what he did to return his country to a place where investors are ‘starting to believe’ should serve as a lesson to Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu.”

Significantly, Atiku said the Argentina’s approach is similar to his reform agenda, adding, “I am more than willing to disclose details of its workings with the current government in order to take Nigeria out of the depth of hunger and anger”.

The full text of the former vice president’s statement titled: Argentina’s Javier Milei approach to reforms should serve as a lesson for Tinubu, says, “I read a recent report in Reuters titled: Argentina’s market double down on Milei as investors ‘start to believe’.

“I took a keen interest in reading the report because I know quite well that Argentina and Nigeria closed the last quarter of the year 2023 on a similar path of economic downturn.

“In the case of Nigeria, a new government was installed at or about the middle of 2023, for Argentina, the new government came on board in December.

“Both leaders inherited a disoriented economy, but both applied different measures to recovery.

Atiku continued, “President Javier Milei of Argentina was sworn into office on 10 December 2023. He inherited a worse condition than Nigeria’s.

“But what he did to return his country to a place where investors are ‘starting to believe’ should serve as a lesson to Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu.

“Nigeria is where we are today simply because of what Tinubu has done or did not do.

Atiku noted that “His shifting the blame on the opposition and, even ridiculously, his predecessor is needless and myopic. Market forces don’t play politics. They respond to your actions and inactions.

He recalled that , “President Milei’s major campaign promise was to reposition the Argentine economy after years of slow growth, high debt levels, triple-digit inflation (160% when he took over the Presidency in December 2023) and 40% poverty rate.

“His first task was to begin implementing measures to achieve greater macroeconomic stability and promote higher global competitiveness.

“He came into the office with a comprehensive stabilization plan, which seeks to implement far-reaching measures within the context of a market-oriented economy.

“He started off cutting government expenditure by cutting the size of government and wastages; blocked stealing of government funds, and attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through concessions, tax holidays, and improved ease of doing business.

“President Milei flies regular business class for all his travels and does not offer the presidential fleet of Argentina for his son’s birthday.

“Likewise, there is no settlement for his hangers-on and political allies through unwieldy and burdensome appointments to public offices.

“Argentina’s Milei did not build the largest government like Tinubu did at a time when our economy was and still on its knees.

“The examples set by President Milei are the requirement of leadership in a time when the economy has begun to fail the expectations of the people.

“The reforms so far implemented by the Tinubu administration are ad hoc and hurriedly put together without proper review. Ours is unlike Argentina’s Milei, who is sequencing his reforms.

“President Milei anticipates the after-reform shocks and admits that things will be tough for the people. But he is fully prepared for the aftershocks and has in place mitigating pills.

“He walks the talk. He makes sacrifices himself by giving up perks of office.

“It is not business-as-usual for the presidency while the people are called upon to make sacrifices.

“Argentina runs a lean government by reducing the number of ministries, privatizing nearly 40 state-owned enterprises, and reducing wasteful spending.

“Conversely, Tinubu in Nigeria increased the number of ministers and ministries and is spending enormous resources renovating houses for himself, his deputy, and the first lady.

“That is nothing short of Nero playing fiddle while Rome is on fire!

“Worse still, Tinubu has refused to roll up his sleeves and do the work that he signed up for. Instead, he and his team are preoccupied with behaving like Napoleon and Squealer, characters in the satire book Animal Farm, who made it a state policy scapegoating Snowball (the opposition) for their own failures arising from their ill-advised policies.

“I am attracted to the reforms in Argentina because Javier Milei’s stabilization plan bears a similar emblem with my Recover Nigeria Plan.

“It is a plan that I am more than willing to disclose details of its workings with the current government in order to take Nigeria out of the depth of hunger and anger that we find ourselves in.

“The plan includes strategic steps we must take to recover the economy and make it stronger, dynamic, resilient, and competitive.

“We had outlined plans to relax the fiscal constraints facing us to include:

Improving Spending Efficiency and Blocking Leakages

Saving money through:
a. A review of fiscal support for non-performing government enterprises and the privatization of those that can not sustain themselves.

b. Steps to improve spending efficiency through a gradual reduction in government recurrent expenditures, ensuring that those expenditures reflect higher levels of service delivery. Over the medium term, recurrent expenditures should not exceed 45% of the budget.

c. A review of government procurement processes to ensure high levels of transparency, competitiveness, and value-for-money and eliminate all leakages.

“Unless, and until there are clear-cut policies and pathway to economic rejuvenation predicated on a leadership led sacrifice, there will be discontentment, especially among the youths, which may find expression in protests and for which it will be silly to continue to blame the opposition for.”

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Labour Party sacks Edo excos, inaugurates caretaker committee

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The crisis rocking the Edo State chapter of the Labour Party ahead of the September 21, 2024, governorship election remains unabated as the Julius Abure-led national leadership of the party sacked the state executive led by Kelly Ogbaloi.

The national leadership then appointed Elizabeth Ativie, the former Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, as the head of a 17-man caretaker committee.

The deputy national chairman of the party, Dr Ayo Olorunfemi, inaugurated the committee on Monday in a hotel in Benin City.

Olorunfemi, also named Ken Omusi, the suspended state youth leader of the party, who had earlier in the month purportedly sacked the state executives and appointed himself the acting chairman, a member of the committee.

While inaugurating the committee, Olorunfemi said the new leadership of the party in the state came on board due to the expiration of the tenure of the Ogbaloi-led executive council, which ended in April 2024.

He said the caretaker committee is expected to take charge of the affairs of the party until a fresh congress is conducted to elect a new executive.

He said Mrs Elizabeth Ativie was appointed as chairman of the committee due to her positive and result-oriented track records so far in all her political positions.

He called for unity in the party and assured that the party would be more united in Edo State with the Ativie-led committee.

In her acceptance remarks, the acting chairman of the party, Mrs Elizabeth Ativie, who commended the national leadership of the party for finding her worthy of the position, promised to move the party to a higher level in the state.

Ativie, who also promised to reconcile all aggrieved members of the party, added that a reconciliation team would be set up to resolve all pending issues.

When contacted, the embattled Kelly Ogbaloi, the sacked chairman of the party, said his executives are not aware of any changes in leadership in the state.

According to him: “We are not aware that the Edo State Labour Party executive has been dissolved because there is a process to all of these. No one man can just wake up one day and remove a structure that has been in existence.

“The National Working Committee of the party, led then by Julius Abure, reached an agreement that there would be no congress in Edo State until after the governorship election slated for September 21, 2024.

“It was agreed that the exco should be allowed to prosecute the state election, after which Congress can follow.”

Last Friday, the Kelly Ogbaloi-led state executive suspended Julius Abure as the national chairman of the party.

Meanwhile, a letter signed by Julius Abure said the new executives of the party are expected to work in conjunction with the party’s governorship candidate, Olumide Akapata, towards ensuring victory at the governorship election.

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Imo guber: Gov Uzodinma reacts as tribunal upholds his election

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Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has reacted to the judgement of the State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which validated his election for a second term in office.

The tribunal, in a unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay’s three-man panel, held that Uzodimma’s election as the state governor complied with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The tribunal thereby dismissed the petition filed by the Labour Party and its governorship candidate, Athan Achonu.

Reacting at the weekend in an interview with newsmen in Owerri, the Imo State capital, Governor Uzodinma said the judgment is not just a personal victory but a resounding triumph for all Imolites, reaffirming the trust and confidence they have placed in his leadership.

He assured that the mandate entrusted to him will translate into meaningful development and prosperity for the people, adding that the present administration in Imo State will continue to build on progress and promote growth, unity, and a brighter future for all.

He thanked Ndi Imo for their unwavering support and belief in the government’s shared vision.

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Edo Excos Have No Power To Suspend Abure, Says LP

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Hours after the suspension of Julius Abure as the Labour Party’s National Chairman, the party said the executives in Edo State lack the power to carry out such action.

LP in a statement by its spokesman, Obiora Ifoh, on Saturday described the purported suspension of Abure by the the ward executive of Ward 3, Arue, Utomi, Esan North East of Edo as fake.

“The ward, LG or even the state have no powers under the constitution to suspend the National Chairman,” the statement read.

“In the Labour Party’s constitution, Article 17 subsection 1 (2019) is emphatic that only the National Convention convened solely for the purpose of removal or suspension of the National Chairman with two third majority can suspend or remove him.

“Court of Appeal, Benin Division on the 14 day of August , 2023 under the Presiding Justice Theresa Ngolika Orji-Abadua in a case brought before it by Lucky Shaibu and others against Julius Abure and others corroborated with the judgement of the lower court in their ruling that the National Chairman of the Labour Party cannot be suspended or removed by the Ward executive.”

Ifoh, the LP’s National Publicity Secretary, said the party’s national leadership is investigating the letter emanating from Edo on Abure’s suspension.

He said the party won’t hesitate to discipline any member found guity of flouting the Labour Party’s rules.

“The leadership of the party is however investigating the source of the purported letter of suspension and will summarily act by the party rules in disciplining any officer of the party found guilty of contravening the rules of the party,” he stated.

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