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‘Nigeria should opt for merit instead of zoning’ – El Rufai





Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, has advocated for people to be chosen as leaders based on merit — instead of zoning.

According to El Rufai, he does not zone positions, rather, he gets people that can get the job done.

“I am a student of history and governance; I have not seen any country in the world that has succeeded on a sustainable basis, by selecting its leaders based on geography, religion, ethnicity, etc. So, it’s not a smart way to choose leaders, the smartest way to choose leaders in all the countries that have made progress, is to have competitive basis in which merit tops everything; you pick the best material,” El Rufai said in a recent interview with Arise TV.

“In Kaduna, the last time I checked, we have people from 18 states of Nigeria represented in our government because, we just want results and don’t care where you come from. However, in this country, there’s a political culture that presupposes that the leadership of the country or even of states, should rotate between various parts of the country. There’s an understanding and in fact, one party has it in their constitution.

“The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has it in their constitution but we don’t have it in the All Progressives Congress, APC. It is an unspoken understanding and in politics, these kinds of understanding are as strong as any provisions of the constitution. You observe them and if you don’t, you pay a heavy political price. Goodluck Jonathan paid that price, when he tried to violate the agreement with the PDP leaders – that he will only contest one term after Umaru Yar’ Adua’s term.

Furthermore, Governor El Rufai noted that, “based on the political culture of Nigeria, not because I think it is a good idea, or that I support it personally or that I practice it, but based on the political culture in Nigeria, after 8 years of President Buhari, presidency should be open to the South. I do not think that any northerner should put himself forward and say I want the presidency.”




Three jailed for internet fraud in Lagos



EFCC logo

The Lagos Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday secured the conviction and sentencing of the trio of Raheem Sodiq Morenikeji, Adetunji Stephen Ademola and Okpala Samuel for internet fraud before Justice S.O. Solebo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

The convicts were arrested sometime in May 2021 at the Sangotedo, Alagbado and Meiran areas of Lagos State, respectively.

Raheem was charged with an amended count in which he was accused of defrauding his victim through deception to the tune of $2,000 and another N54, 000 as a picker.

Under interrogation, he admitted to have purchased a Toyota Camry 2013 model in the name of his mother, which was recovered from him. An iPhone 7x was also recovered from him.

On his part, Ademola who was also charged with an amended one-count charge, following a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution, was accused of posing online as “Tina Moore” and “Jessica”, to defraud his victims to the tune of $2,000.

Upon arrest, an iPhone 11 Pro Max was recovered from him.

Okpala, who also approached the EFCC for a plea bargain, was charged with a one-count amended charge in which he was accused of posing on Facebook as Jane Michelle Gregor living in Texas, through which he professed love to one Roberto, who was actually living in Minnesota, United States.

He lured Roberto into a romantic relationship and was able to receive $600 from him purportedly for feeding and payment for school fees. An iPhone 11 and bontel phone were recovered from him upon arrest.

They all “pleaded guilty” to the charges, and also pleaded with the Court to temper justice with mercy.

Subsequently, Justice Solebo found the defendants guilty as charged and sentenced them to one year in prison.

While Raheem was given an option of N500,000 fine, Ademola got N1million option of fine, and Okpala was given an option of N400,000 fine.

In addition, they are all to sign a bond with the EFCC upon their release to be of good behaviour and not to engage in any form of economic and financial crime.

Raheem and Ademola were also ordered to serve 500 hours of community service, while Okpala got 400 hours.

They were also ordered to forfeit to the Federal Government all the items recovered from them.


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Quality, affordable healthcare key to Nigeria’s development – Osinbajo



Vice President Yemi Osinbajo giving an address at the Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation memorial lecture in Kano State
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday said the quality and affordable healthcare is central to Nigeria’s development.

Speaking at the inauguration of the health sector reform committee, Prof. Osinbajo, noted that any society is probably only as prosperous, developed and happy as its healthcare system, and central to any meaningful development planning, there must be a plan to improve access to quality, reliable, functional and affordable healthcare for citizens.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has in several public statements, made it clear that a modern virile and people-centric healthcare system was fundamental to his vision for the socio-economic growth of our nation.

“However, the current reality is that the Nigerian health sector, (and we have heard quite a bit of that from the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire), still carries some critical challenges, which have resulted in sub-optimal outcomes, when compared especially with healthcare systems in more developed jurisdictions of the world.

“This is due to a variety of factors, including fragmentation of health service delivery; insufficient healthcare financing; inadequate motivation and poor distribution of health workers; inadequate infrastructure and equipment; and relatively low private sector participation.

President Muhammadu Buhari is keen to revamp Nigeria's healthcare sector
President Muhammadu Buhari is keen to revamp Nigeria’s healthcare sector

“These factors have precipitated significant revenue loss due to growing medical tourism, and even the loss of our trained personnel which is a frightening phenomenon even now.

“Government has the primary responsibility to address these issues and to put in place the structures and arrangements necessary to boost the efficiency of the healthcare ecosystem; improve healthcare delivery, stem the brain-drain of our health personnel and reduce the pressure we currently have on our foreign reserves on account of medical tourism

He explained that in furtherance of that objective, President Buhari approved the establishment of this Health Reform Committee to commence the development and implementation of a wide-ranging Health Sector Reform Programme for the country. We already have the terms of reference.

“There have, of course, been a good number of attempts to reform the healthcare system in Nigeria, and many of us who are members-designate of this committee are familiar with some of these reform efforts. This particular journey of reforming the Nigerian health sector, began with the commissioning of a Diagnostic Needs Assessment (DNA) of the sector.

“Subsequently, the National Council on Privatization at its meeting of April 12, 2019, approved the appointment of consultants to carry out the assignment, which involved a review of previous reform efforts in the sector, as well as field visits to 55 tertiary health institutions across the country and some selected sub-regional health institutions.

He added that, “It is also important to mention that a series of stakeholder consultations were carried out with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), health unions and key stakeholders in the sector. The report of that comprehensive effort has brought us to where we are today.

“As mandated by Mr. President, the Health Sector Reform Committee is tasked with the crucial role of reviewing these reports and steering the direction of the needed reforms.

“On account of the multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary participation required to execute a health reform mandate on the scale and the complexity that we have today, I am keen to ensure that the coordinating office for the reform effort which is domiciled in the Office of the Vice President will not just have the Ministry of Health (which is the important partner), but also some of the important technical resource persons provided by our partners and solid representation from the Committee.

“The Coordinating Office will provide technical and administrative oversight of all activities of the reform and I intend to have further consultations with the Minister of Health as we bring this to fruition.

“The next steps are that the committee will be divided into thematic working groups to take on various aspects of the assignment. We have received the commitment of funding support to engage experts who will be assigned by the secretariat to the various teams. In addition to members, we would also have sector experts for the thematic groups, professionals who would be engaged to support the thematic groups themselves.

“I hope that at the next meeting of the Committee which will be convened shortly, the proposals for the thematic groupings and terms of reference will be presented for consideration.

“Ahead of that, we would send these thematic groupings, the names, terms of reference, so if there are comments or questions, those can be raised and forwarded to the coordinating office, and if there are any additional ideas, those could also be forwarded. At the next meeting, there will be a quick run-through of the thematic groupings and what their tasks would be, and satisfy ourselves that we are on the right track.

“Following that, each team will commence work and periodic reports will be presented as time goes on for our full Committee’s consideration.

“Let me thank in advance, all members of the Committee for offering their time, resources for this very important national assignment. I hope that just as you committed yourselves to this, as time goes on, we would demand more and more of your time and your expertise and I hope that you’d be willing to provide more of that expertise. We thank you very much for your contributions so far and we hope to see more dedication and commitment as we go along.

“In furtherance of this great effort, it is, therefore, my singular honour to inaugurate this Health Sector Reform Committee to the benefit of the people of Nigeria and to the glory of God,” he said.


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Idumota: Kunle Poly, others remanded in prison



Kunle Poly and Sego arrested by Lagos State RRS
Kunle Poly and Sego were arrested by Lagos State RRS after the Idumota mayhem

A Yaba Chief Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, yesterday, ordered the remand of Alhaji Azeez Adekunle Lawal, a.k.a. Kunle Poly, and two others, in the facility of the Nigeria Police Zonal Monitoring Unit, Zone 2 Headquarters, Onikan, Lagos, for 30 days, over last Thursday’s Idumota mayhem.

Others remanded alongside Kunle Poly are Prince Idowu Onikoyi Johnson and Agboola Akeem Kosoko.

Chief Magistrate Linda Balogun made the remand order of the three National Union of Road Transport Workers, after their application for remand was moved by Barrister Morufu Animashaun.

In urging the court to remand the three, Barrister Animashaun, told the court that the application is pursuant to section 264(1), (2), (3), (4) and (6) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, 2021 (as amended); Section 4 and 10 of the Police Act, 2020, and sections 6(c), 35(1)(C)(5) and (7)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 199 (as amended).

Animashaun told the court that the application sought for, is to enable the police conclude investigation of a case OF threat to life and property, violence, cultism, mayhem, conduct likely to cause breach of peace, unlawful possession of firearms, conspiracy and murder against the three men.

Barrister Animashaun supported the remand application with an affidavit of 14 paragraphs, deposed to by Inspector Monday Ohion.

Chief Magistrate Balogun, after listened to the submission of Barrister Animashaun, held that: “I have listened to the submission of the counsel, as well as perused the application for remand and the attached affidavit.

“I found merit in the application and it is accordingly granted. The three defendants are to be remanded in facility of the Nigeria Police Zonal Monitoring Unit, Zone 2 Headquarters, Onikan-Lagos, for the next 30 days, to enable to police conclude investigation”.


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