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As Prince Clem Agba Bows Out

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By Afemai Reporter

No doubt a man who wields a humongous experience not only in the oil and gas sector where he spent a large chunk of his years working in the industry across the globe, but across other fields of human endeavour where he has deployed administrative dexterity to turn things around.

His appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning in 2019 was a game-changer as he brought so much vibrancy and innovations into the ministry with a view of repositioning for optimal service delivery to Nigerians.

In coming days, precisely May 29, he will bow out of office by the virtue of expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure as the President of Nigeria. What is however remarkable is that he is leaving behind a legacy for which he will be remembered in years to come.

His greatest asset is his experiential capacity, which spans from private and public sector, especially in the oil industry where he served for the greater years of his working age.

Among organisations where he has worked include, Tengizchevroil (TCO) LLC as Logistics Superintendent, Chevron Nigeria Limited where he occupied several positions, including Senior Contract Advisor, Community Procurement Operations Manager, Transport and Travel Manager and more.

In public sector, he has held several positions Edo State Government House, including commissioner in charge of Ministry of Environment and Public Utilities as well as Ministry of Land, Survey and Housing.

Clem Agba is known for making the very best in whatever he sets his eye to achieving, a testimony clearly seen in his catalogue of milestones in Edo while he was Commissioner.

It was not surprising that the Ministry of Budget and National Planning under him brought on board so much innovations that helped in fostering trust and transparency in governance, as well as affording citizens opportunity to be part of their developmental process.

The deployment and launch of “Eye-Mark Web Application” which helps to monitor and evaluate execution of projects embarked upon by Federal Government is a significant milestone. It is a GRID 3 geo-spatial technology, domiciled in the Monitoring and Evaluation Department of Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning that ensures transparency and integrity in project execution through citizens’ participation.

The Minister wants to ensure that the era when the government only “earmark money” for development projects with minimal monitoring is gone. Now it would also “eye-mark” progress in the execution of such projects as captured in the budget. The intent of the “eye-mark web app” is to use geo-spatial technology to monitor progress of all projects.

Under him, the campaign for resource mobilisation gained momentum, with a projection that taxation of the digital economy can raise government revenue profile by about 15 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025.

The Ministry of Finance Budget and National planning introduced the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI) and the Finance Act, which the minister was an active part of was aimed at mobilising domestic funds necessary for human capital and infrastructure development that were both drivers and enablers of sustainable economic growth and development.

The Minister told a gathering, “The SRGI is designed to improve government revenue and entrench fiscal prudence with emphasis on achieving value for money. A total of 47 Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives were identified across three thematic areas to achieve sustainability in revenue generation, identify new revenue streams and enhance the enforcement of existing ones as well as achieve cohesion in the revenue ecosystem.

“The digitalisation of the economy has revealed some challenges and shortcomings in the existing tax practice as it affects the allocation of taxing rights and administration of taxes, especially with respect to non-resident taxpayers.”

The Ministry of Budget and National Planning has frontally dealt with these issues through a three-pronged approach that consists of strategic changes to tax policy, administration and effective legislative framework which has loosened up locked revenues critical to building a new nation.

As a means ensuring that the vulnerable in the society are protected, he initiated an inter-ministerial technical working committee to review the National Social Protection Policy and produce a revised policy which started to run from 2021-2025. His ministry mainstreamed social protection into a Medium Term National Development Plans which started since 2021 to terminate in 2025 while a long term perspective plan is the Nigeria Agenda 2050 which has successfully taken Nigeria to a proper medium and long term planning. Today, we are all witnesses to the digitisation process in the payment of needy households and how leakages have been blocked to ensure wider coverage of social protection schemes of the government.

Under him, for the first time in Nigeria since 1999 the minister has been able to change the budget circle to a predictable January to December consistently in the past four years, the Federal Government also budgeted N126 billion in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) to upgrade infrastructure in Nigeria’s Federal Medical Centres (FMCs) and teaching hospitals to ensure effective access to health among Nigerians.

His ministry understood the importance of partnership to drive institutional financial support for implementation of research planning outcomes towards improving the health of the masses. His ministry was at the forefront in driving progress in the health sector by upgrading and developing Nigeria’s health infrastructure and ensuring operationalisation of the National Health Act 2018 which seeks to increase the fiscal space and overall financing to the health sector to assist Nigeria achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through revitalisation of Primary Health Care (PHC) and other schemes.

This space cannot contain the catalogue of achievements the ministry has made under Agba. As he bows out, it is important to state that he has gloriously inked his name in the nation’s historical page of honour with the outstanding performance he has demonstrated. For these, posterity will be kind to him.

Below are 65 Projects In Edo State facilitated by Hon Minister of state for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba

1- Solar Powered Water Works Plus Reticulation, Idumuadile
Uwalor Oke Ward 9 – Esan North East

2- Solar Powered Water Works Plus Reticulation, Ubierumun Neko,
Uromi, Ward 11 -Esan North-East

3- Construction of Uwalor Oke Road Uromi With Drainages, Esan
North East (5Km)

4- Solar Powered Water Works Plus Reticulation,
Idumuangue,Ward 8, Uromi, Esan North East.

5-Solar Powered Water Works Plus Reticulation, Akahia,UhieleEkpoma, Ward 9 Esan North-West

6-Flood And Erosion Control Works At Idumu-Oleghe, Okaigben Ewohimi, Esan South East Lga, Edo State Edo Central
Esan South East

7-Perimeter Fencing Of Ewatto Grammar School Eguare Ewatto, Esan South-East

8-Provision of Computers and other learning materials to Effandion
Secondary School, Effandion, Uromi – Esan South-East

9-Construction of 4km Aiyetoro – Somorika road, AkokoEdo LGA

10-Construction of Enwam – Egbigbere Road Akoko Edo, Edo State
(6Km)

11-Construction of Ojirami – Erhurun Uneme – Ogute Akoko Edo
Lga

12-Construction of UBEC Block of 6 classrooms at Orere Primary School, Igarra- Akoko-Edo

13- Supply Of Agricultural Cargo Tricycles, Grass Cutting Machines, Improved Cassava, Yam,Grains Seedlings,Fertilizers And Herbicides To Farmers In Edo North

14-Construction of 3km Okpenada – Ogochi Road, Etsako Central

15-Construction of Agenebode – Osomegbe- Udochi Road in Etsako East and Etsako Central – In 2021 budget. – Procurement processes-Etsako Central

16-Construction of Ogbona – Ogomeze Road in Etsako Central

17-Supply and installation of Solar Home Systems in Selected Etsako Central Communities

18- Supply And Installation of Solar Powered Street Lights In Anegbette in Etsako Central

19-Supply And Installation of Solar Powered Street Lights In Irakhor, Udaba and Ukpeko-Ore Etsako Central

20- 13 5km Road connecting the entire 7 Egori communities in Etsako East

21-Construction of 80 Bed Hospital In Uzanu-Etsako East

22-Construction of Agenebode to Unuedegor Road-Etsako East

23-Construction of Ekwosor-Iviukwe Road: 2.5Km- Etsako East

24-Construction of Mini Stadium In Etsako East

25-Construction of Open Market Stores With Borehole, Toilet Facilities, Solar Powered Streetlights And Erosion Control In Agenebode- Etsako East

26-Construction of Road Connecting Uneme-Uzanu-Odoba To Okpekpe, Etsako East Local Government, Edo State (21Km)

27-Construction Of Solar Powered Borehole, Ivioghe, Etsako East Lga, Edo State

40 -Construction of IDP village in Auchi, Etsako West. – Issues with location being sorted-Etsako West

41-Construction of Ikholo-Ogbido-Ayoghena Road, Ogbido – Uzairue Etsako West

42-Construction of Iyamho- Ayua Road in Etsako West -Etsako West

43-Construction of Malik Aikhunegbe Boulevard Road, Opposite
Arafat Mosque Off Otaru Palace Road,Auchi-Etsako West

44- Construction Of Open Market Stores With Borehole, Toilet Facilities And Erosion Control In Jattu -Etsako West

45- Rehabilitation Of Health Center, Ikabigbo, Etsako West

46-Solar Powered Water Works Plus Reticulation, Eware,- Etsako
West

47-Supply and installation of Solar Home Systems In Selected Etsako West Communities

48-Supply And Installation of Solar Powered Street Lights In Ayua
And Elele, – Etsako West

49-Supply And Installation of Solar Powered Street Lights In Sabo –
Etsako West

50-Construction of 31km Uzanu – Ajaokuta road Edo North – Etsako East
Inter-State

51- Supply And Installation Of Solar Powered Street Lights In
Afuze,Warrake, Okpe, Igarra And Akpama In Owan and AkokoEdo Fed Constituency

52- FGN STEM programm in St James Government Sec Sch, AfuzeEmai – Owan East

53 -Reclamation of Warrake Gully Erosion – Owan East

54- Warrake – Iyekhara – Egono Road in Owan East LGA

55- GN STEM programm in Holy Trinity Grammer School Sabongida Ora –
Owan West

56- Deployment of Digital Nigeria Center at Uhonmora secondary commercial school – Owan West

57- Construction Evbotubu Uwelu Adolor College road -Egor

58- Integrated Farm At Igueododo, Orhionmwon Lga, Edo State

59- Provision Of Instructional Materials,School Desk In Selected
Schools In Ovia Federal Constituency

60- Construction of Igo-Ikpalla Road
-Ovia North-East

61- Construction of Open Market Stores With Borehole, Toilet Facilities And Erosion Control In Ikoro
– Ovia North-East

62-Solar Powered Water Works Plus Reticulation, Ikoro- Ovia NorthEast

63- Supply And Installation Of Solar Powered Street Lights In Ikoro-
Ovia North-East

64- Construction Of Aden Bridge Between Okada And OgboguiAbangbe Spur To Benin-Shagamu Dual-Ovia South West

65- Construction Of Federal Primary Care Center Road, Ilobi -Uhumwonde Lga, Edo State.

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EDSG Trains Batch- 9 Vigilantes, Hunters.

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….. As Gov Obaseki Signs Edo Security Corps Bill into law

By Sim Omo- Benin City

As part of efforts to combat crimes, criminalities, cultism and other social vices bedeviling the state, the governor Obaseki led administration has commenced training of batch Nine hunters and operatives of Vigilantes, bringing a total of over ten thousand Vigilantes and hunters so far trained by the state to tighten security in every nook and cranny

Similarly Governor Godwin Obaseki has signed the State security Corps Bill into law

Speaking at the commencement of the batch- nine training exercise at the Police Training School in Ogida, the State Co-ordinator of the Edo security and Vigilantes network , Col. Kole Omomia( Rtd) commended Governor Obaseki and the state government for prioritizing security in the state and its continuous commitment to providing the necessary logistics for the state’s security apparatus to function

He noted that the training of the corps operatives which included the hunters, as in the instance of the batch- 9 who are currently here today, are concerted effort and determination of the state government to put her citizens at the fore front to enjoy peace, tranquility and have an enabling environment that would promote growth, development and investments.

Col. Omomia reiterated that the trainees would undergo series of exercises such as medical fitness, bio-data, teekwando, Judo, Drills, Parades and mental fitness and other activities ancillary to the job

According to the State Cord, the training would cut across the three senatorial districts in the state , with about One thousand, three hundred,(1300) Vigilantes and hunters expected to be trained in Batch- 9

He, however,urged the trainees to key into the program with keen interest and participate fully.

Recall that only recently, the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, singed the Bill establishing the State security Corps, formerly known as the Edo State Security Vigilante Network,ESSVN, into law

By the establishing Act, the Corps is now a statutory body recognised by law and would perform its roles as provided by the Act

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HAILING THE SUPREME COURT ON LG ALLOCATION JUDGMENT

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Prof Mike Ozekhome, SAN,CON, OFR

The supreme court judgement on

July 11, 2024, directing the Federal Government to pay allocations due to Local Government Areas directly to their account thereby abolishing the old practices of State-Local Government Joint Account,is timely and courageous.

What the judgement has done is more like interpreting section 162 of the Constitution, which provides for a joint State-Local Government Account. In which case, money is normally paid to state governors’ accounts and then for them to disburse to the local governments for them to share. But what has been happening is that, as I noted in 2020,over three years ago, the state governors, have been behaving like ”bandits”, waylaing local governments funds along the way and thus impoverishing them leaving them with nothing to work, just a little for salary. And nothing to actually work for the people whom they represent.
I agree totally with the judgement of the supreme court to grant full financial autonomy so that money is released and paid directly to the 774 local government councils which constitute the third-tier of government,to develop their places because the LGAs are grassrooted and nearest to the people. Rather than allow overbearing state governors throw their weight around and muzzle the local governments and seize their purse,they will now allow LGs breath some air of freedom.

If you take a look at our situation, Nigeria is operating a very lopsided federation,more like a unitary system of government. Where the federal government is supposed to be a small government,it is controlling 67 items on the exclusive legislative list. That is why the federal government gets the lion share of the federation account , the lion share of the money that comes to the federation account to the tune of 52.68%. The states get 26.72% while the entire 774 local government councils in Nigeria get just 20.60% of the monthly allocation by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RLASMC.

The question is, what is the federal government doing with almost 53% of the national income? That is because it is a government that is behemoth.That is elephantine. A government that intrudes and intervenes in areas that should not concern it at all. What is the federal government’s business with licensing cars and trucks for states? What is its business with the Marriage Act, dealing with how people marry and wed in Nigeria and how they live together as husband and wife and separate or divorce? What is the federal government’s business with unity schools? A whole FG operating secondary schools? What is their business? Why is the FG not allowing states generate their own power, operate their own railway stations, if they have the capacity? Why should the federal government not allow states have their own police force? Even for the local governments to have their own police force as we have in the United States and other advanced countries of the world where even tertiary institutions have their own police?

The truth is that the federal government is overbloated and overpampered. That is why it is using too much money and make the centre become too attractive,eating deep into funds that ought to be meant for the states and local government areas. The states take not only that which belongs to the states, but also waylays at source that which is meant for the local government areas. No Nation grows that way.

So, I see this judgment as epochal,having

far-reaching effect because money will now be made available directly to the local government areas who will no longer be subservient, like fawning slaves to state governors. In fact, the judgement even went further to say that no state government has the power henceforth to dissolve local government areas. This is because we have been seeing cases where inspite of the provisions of section 7 of the 1999 constitution that give autonomy to local government areas, states normally go ahead and dissolve local government areas ND appoint caretaker committees for them.This is whimsical and capricious.The Supreme Court has said this can no longer go on and that henceforth, no state government should ever be able to dissolve any local government area in Nigeria for any reason whatsoever and howsoever.

The judgement is salutary, timely and regenerative. It should be upheld by all governments and people in Nigeria for better democratic dividends.I see this as victory for our wobbling democracy, even if we are far removed from true fiscal federalism where the federating units control and utilize their God-given resources while paying royalty or tax to the central government. This case is one big plus for tested court room gladiator, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation, who initiated the case at the apex court, invoking its original jurisdiction.Surely,to jaw-jaw is better than to war-war. God bless Nigeria.

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Ex+Abia gov, Senator Kalu backs part-time legislature

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has backed calls for part-time legislature at both federal and state levels.

Senator Kalu (APC Abia North) said this would help the nation cut costs and enhance the citizenry’s trust in the polity.

The former Abia governor said this in an interview published on his verified Facebook page over the weekend.

On calls for part-time legislature, Senator Kalu said, “I think it will be a very good idea if my colleagues and other members of the Houses of Assembly will agree that we can sit for three months and do constitutional amendment first.

“So we can sit four times a year and if there’s any emergency, there will be emergency sitting. We can come to do a presidential bid on that basis and go back instead of sitting on a full-time basis.

“Not only the Senate and the House of Representatives, but all the legislative houses in Nigeria will be part-time.”

Senator Kalu maintained that this would be part of austerity measures to reduce cost of governance, arguing that regional government is another viable alternative.

“If we’re going for regional government, it also means that the ministers, the legislators, will be the same. I’ve been tinkering with the idea of how we can save money to run Nigeria because the country needs money.

“I will encourage the President, the National Assembly to make these kind of laws. This will help him, and this will help the system, and this will help everybody,” he said.

The ex-governor explained that contrary to misconceptions among Nigerians, senators are not paid enough.
U
“But I want Nigerians and my colleagues to do a quick constitutional amendment so we can go and be a part-time sitting Senate and part-time sitting House of Representatives, and other 36 state houses of assembly in Nigeria.

“That will bring trust and bring relief to the Nigerian people,” the ex-governor said.

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