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PROTOCOL.

  1. It is a special honour to host the international press at the IPI World Congress Dinner here in Abuja. We are very pleased that the world’s best journalists, editors and media executives have converged in Nigeria to explore the theme – ‘Why Good Journalism Matters: Quality Media For Strong Societies’.
  2. No doubt, from the engaging sessions and enriching discussions over the last couple of days, many strategies have been formulated that will take the practice of journalism to new heights around the world.
  3. I congratulate the International Press Institute (IPI) and the Nigerian Hosting Committee (NHC) headed by Prince Nduka Obaigbena on the successful hosting of this World Congress and General Assembly. When the IPI Director, Ms. Barbara Traofi, called at my office along with a delegation including the Nigerian Hosting Committee back in February, I was most enthusiastic in signaling my support for the Congress holding in our country.
  4. We welcome this visit of the IPI to Nigeria and we call for more regular visits, and indeed annual congresses, in this part of the world. This, I believe, will make for better understanding of Nigerians and Africans in the eyes of the international media. When international journalists themselves come in our midst and get the right position about Africa, the image of our continent will start to improve in the eyes of the world out there.
  5. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the World’s Press, you will agree with me that negative stereotypes of the so-called ‘dark continent’ have been bandied about for too long. This has had an unfortunate effect on the development of Africa, as well as the sense of pride and dignity of young Africans down the ages.
  6. And we do know that these negative notions of Africa are largely misconceptions. In those cases where there may have been some truth in them, what we also know is that culture is not static. Some things that may have been true of Nigeria in the 1930s are no longer the case in the Nigeria of today. We can say much the same about America in many respects, or indeed of anyplace else. Culture is dynamic and refreshes itself; it evolves. It would therefore be appropriate for the larger world’s view of Africa to move apace, in line with the changing times. The media is key to achieving this.
  7. How we begin to redress the balance, goes to the heart of responsible journalism itself. It starts with quality, accurate and objective reporting – the hallmarks of good journalism. Objectivity and impartiality, those time-honoured principles of responsible journalism, cannot be over-emphasised.
  8. As Nigeria heads into the 2019 election year, we plead with the press – national and international – to maintain objectivity at all times in their reporting. I say this because there can be no democracy without credible elections. If we get the election right, then we have a better chance of making a stronger society.
  9. We are living in times that call on the press to strive, more than ever, to defend freedoms. Events all over the world attest to the urgency of this. The media must be a defender of values; it must stand for rights, for openness - for the remaking of a world where the powerful will not oppress the weak.
  10. In the era of Fake News, especially with the fragmentation of the social contract as we are witnessing all over the world today, it is clear to me that the media cannot afford to be complacent. The media cannot allow itself to be complicit. When false claims are made, which could heat up the polity – or set different groups off against one another - it behoves the media to expose these by countering with verifiable facts.

By Femi Olayinka

As Otunba (Giwa) Abiodun Onanuga, the indefatigable and dogged doyen of building profession and husband of Her Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Chief (Mrs.)Yetunde Abosede Onanuga clocks 60 today, Friday 22nd of June 2018, one can only pray to the Almighty God to keep multiplying His grace upon this rare breed philanthropist and illustrious son of Ogun State, and preserve him for many glorious years to come.

Otunba (Giwa) Abiodun Onanuga, Chairman, NUGACON Ltd and supreme head, (Giwa) of the popular and flamboyant Ijebu age group, Egbe Bobakeye Akile Ijebu knew early in life that a worthwhile life is that which is devoted to selfless service and having positive impacts in the lives of others. This he has religiously pursued in the last sixty years alongside a flourishing career in the building and construction sector of the economy.

Born to the popular Onanuga family of Ijebu Ode, the industrialist, after obtaining the required educational qualifications, through dint of hard work, perseverance, self-belief and the amazing grace of God, began what today could best be described as a success story in indigenous building construction in Nigeria.

PROTOCOLS

I would like to thank the leadership of the National Assembly, particularly the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as all the Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, for passing the 2018 Appropriation Bill, after seven months.

When I submitted the 2018 Budget proposals to the National Assembly on 7th November 2017, I had hoped that the usual legislative review process would be quick, so as to move Nigeria towards a predictable January-December financial year. The importance of this predictability cannot be overemphasized.

While the Federal Government’s budget represents less than 10% of aggregate yearly expenditures in the economy, it has a very significant accelerator effect on the financial plans of other tiers of government, and even more importantly, the private sector, which mostly operates on a January-December financial year.

Notwithstanding the delay this year, I am determined to continue to work with the National Assembly towards improving the budgeting process and restoring our country to the January-December fiscal cycle.

I note, with pleasure, that the National Assembly is working on the enactment of an Organic Budget Law, so as to improve the efficiency of the nation’s budgetary process.

As I mentioned during the presentation of the 2018 Appropriation Bill, we intend to use the 2018 Budget to consolidate the achievements of previous budgets and deliver on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.

It is in this regard that I am concerned about some of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the budget proposals that I presented. The logic behind the Constitutional direction that budgets should be proposed by the Executive is that, it is the Executive that knows and defines its policies and projects.

Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me. The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira.

Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation. Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute.

Furthermore, many of these new projects introduced by the National Assembly have been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.

As it is, some of these projects relate to matters that are the responsibility of the States and Local Governments, and for which the Federal Government should therefore not be unduly burdened.

Mr President

Fellow Nigerians,

I join all of us in expressing gratitude to Almighty God for making us witness the historic occasion. As the sitting governor of Ogun State, home-state of the late Bashorun MKO Abiola in 1993, I was in the forefront and an active participant in the politics of the era. I shared the fears, pains, and anxieties of fellow Nigerians about those developments. Since that annulments; our efforts at building an enduring democracy have not always been smooth.   Many have sought to falsely consign the promise of the June 12 election to Irrelevance. We have lived in denial for so long.

The decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to halt the deceit, and repair the damage by taking the symbolic step of recognizing the promise of June 12, the sacrifice of Bashorun Abiola and many other heroes of democracy-the artisans, human rights organization, students, traders, journalists, academics, various professionals, organized religion and the labour movement through this conferment of the GCFR award on Chief Abiola is welcome. So is the proclamation of June 12 as our Democracy Day. It is never too late to correct a wrong. We congratulate Mr President and members of his government for this historic action.

We commit The President to the guidance of Almighty God for the courage and wisdom to Do MORE by building on the larger implications of the June 12 election for the sustainable progress and development of Nigeria.

During that campaign our T.V. advert clip of Hope 93 slogan was “on the March Again-MKO is our man O.”   In the spirit of Hope 93, we are prepared and ready to March behind you on any further major legacies you want to construct on the solid June 12 foundation that you laid today.

God Bless you Mr President. God Bless us all and God Bless Nigeria.

  1. E. Olusegun Osoba (CON)

Former Two Times Governor of Ogun State.

Mr President

Fellow Nigerians,

I join all of us in expressing gratitude to Almighty God for making us witness the historic occasion. As the sitting governor of Ogun State, home-state of the late Bashorun MKO Abiola in 1993, I was in the forefront and an active participant in the politics of the era. I shared the fears, pains, and anxieties of fellow Nigerians about those developments. Since that annulments; our efforts at building an enduring democracy have not always been smooth.   Many have sought to falsely consign the promise of the June 12 election to Irrelevance. We have lived in denial for so long.

The decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to halt the deceit, and repair the damage by taking the symbolic step of recognizing the promise of June 12, the sacrifice of Bashorun Abiola and many other heroes of democracy-the artisans, human rights organization, students, traders, journalists, academics, various professionals, organized religion and the labour movement through this conferment of the GCFR award on Chief Abiola is welcome. So is the proclamation of June 12 as our Democracy Day. It is never too late to correct a wrong. We congratulate Mr President and members of his government for this historic action.

We commit The President to the guidance of Almighty God for the courage and wisdom to Do MORE by building on the larger implications of the June 12 election for the sustainable progress and development of Nigeria.

During that campaign our T.V. advert clip of Hope 93 slogan was “on the March Again-MKO is our man O.”   In the spirit of Hope 93, we are prepared and ready to March behind you on any further major legacies you want to construct on the solid June 12 foundation that you laid today.

God Bless you Mr President. God Bless us all and God Bless Nigeria.

  1. E. Olusegun Osoba (CON)

Former Two Times Governor of Ogun State.

Sani Abacha was born on September 20, 1943, in Kano State, Northern Nigeria and In 1963, passed out of the Nigerian Military Training Centre in Kaduna, to later received further training in the United Kingdom.

He got married to Maryam Jiddah in 1965, while the couple has 10 children, one of whom later dies. Between 1967-72, Abacha fought for Nigeria in the country’s civil war against Biafran secessionists and continued to rise through the army ranks.

He became prominent in 1983 because of his role in the December 31 coup that toppled the Civilian Government of President Shehu Shagari in Lagos, resulting in the installation of General Muhammadu Buhari as Nigerian Military Ruler.

He also supported the coup which overthrown Muhammed Buhari in 1985, and again helps install General Ibrahim Babangida as the nation leader, a role which earned him promotion to Major General.

Abacha was appointed Minister of Defence in August 1993, after Babangida annulled June 12, 1993 election with a claim to step down and creates an interim government headed by Civilian President, Ernest Shonekan.

He took over from Ernest Sonekan who resigned in November 17, 1993, a resignation widely believed to be another coup. His regime is marred by human rights abuses and the crushing of dissenting voices, while in 1994, Presumed election winner Moshood Abiola declares himself President and Abacha imprisoned him.

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