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Young Nigerians Must Join Politics To Make Difference, Osinbajo Advises

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has told young Nigerians to participate in politics to help make a difference.

Speaking on Wednesday at a virtual forum where he interacted with Nigerian Fellows of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he observed that the way to transform society is largely dependent on the actions and decisions of those who occupy public offices.

According to him, this is why young people in Nigeria must get involved in politics.

Osinbajo stated: “You need to go the extra length if you are not already involved, get involved in politics—while a lot can be achieved in civil society, the government still holds the ace in terms of capacity and resources to bring social goods to the largest numbers.

“Besides, being deciders instead of pressure groups at the table in policy formulation are hugely different positions. The consummation of our great ideas to transform our societies ultimately will depend on ‘those politicians’ as we sometimes derisively describe them.”

A statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande further quoted the Vice President as saying: “African nations and especially our country, cannot afford to have its best minds and most committed social activists remain only in the civil space. No, we simply can’t afford it, you have to get involved in politics. You have to be in the position to make the difference on the scale that is required.”

“Of course, there are many who will not be involved in politics but those that are inclined should, and there will be many challenges even in the winning or getting heard in politics. But I want to say to you that it should be an objective that you should set for yourselves, to get involved at whatever level of politics so that you can make the difference on the scale that is required.”

Speaking further about the potentials of young Nigerians to effect the desired change in their communities, the Vice President described the efforts of young African innovators as “Africa’s most exciting story – the story of a present and future that could be steered by our continent’s incredibly talented and optimistic young men and women.”

Commending the innovation and creativity of the fellows, Prof. Osinbajo said “within any generation, only a few wholeheartedly take on that challenge – the challenge of building a society. Most believe that the task is for someone else and that such endeavors cannot pay the bills.”

Recalling his days in civil society engagements and later in politics as Lagos State Attorney-General, the Vice President noted that “it took public office for me to be able to get the scale of change that is required to make a difference.”

Osinbajo further said: “Without public office, I would have remained a pressure group activist, I would have done some nice things, but I wouldn’t have been able to make the changes that my country required.

“I was once where you were. I was part of several civil society groups at the time. I joined the first civil society group when I was 24, I was teaching at the time. I also co-founded the anti-corruption group, Integrity, and then Convention on Business Integrity (which is still existing today and they function out of Abuja and Lagos).

“I was chair of the Legal Research and Development Centre, where we worked on civil rights issues and legal defense for the poor. We did a couple of legal defence initiatives, we got funding from donors and tried to do the best we could.”

He added: “If I count the numbers that we did all the years it will be around maybe a hundred or so. We achieved some good, but compared to the scale of the problem, it was really a little.

“But in 1999 came politics, and I was appointed Attorney General of Lagos. With that platform, we took on corruption in the Lagos judiciary and set a model. We reviewed the issues of corruption in the Lagos Judiciary and how to address it. From remuneration to discipline and we were able to put in place an anti-corruption framework that has lasted several years.

“The reason why I make this point is that other States after what we did in Lagos copied that very example. So, many States improved remuneration and a wide variety of things.”

Osinbajo stated further that “the second thing we did in Lagos at the time is that we established the Citizens Rights Department. For the first time in the history of our country, a department was established in the Ministry of Justice for the rights of citizens.

“That was important because the Ministry of Justice is not just a ministry of law and order, it is a Ministry of Justice for the people. And that department had what was called the Office of the Public Defender, and that was a concept we borrowed from some US States and we were able to do legal defence, the government provided the funding, for thousands of Lagosians.

“But the more interesting part of that story is that almost every state in Nigeria adopted the Citizens’ Rights Department, adopted the Office of the Public Defender. Now, go back to when I was an activist working in the Legal Research and Development Centre, where we tried to do some work on legal defence. We did a few but certainly couldn’t achieve the scale that we achieved when we were in public service.”

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Omicron: FG Expresses Disappointment Over UK Govt’s Red Listing Of Nigeria

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The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has expressed disappointment over the United Kingdom government’s placement of Nigeria on its red list following the detection of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

“We were not very happy when six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were placed on a red list and the WHO also advised against putting each on the red list,” the minister said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, less than one day after the UK announced the move.

“From what we know about the COVID-19, there are many ways to manage it, and besides, not much is still known about the Omicron variant. We know, for example, that there have been no fatalities.

“There have also been no reports of very severe illness. Actually, the rationale for being so hasty in putting countries on the red list is not something that is very helpful.”

According to the minister, the move was ill-advised as he noted that it would have multiple impacts on commerce, and disrupt activities during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

“It is going to disrupt commerce,” he added. It is going to disrupt family reunions.”
Ban List Not ‘Helpful’

He explained that while Nigeria has detected the COVID-19 virus on travellers from the UK, the cases have not been confirmed to be the Omicron variant.

While reiterating that the placement of countries on the red list will not help in the global fight against the pandemic, Ehanire said Nigeria is anticipating the fourth wave of the disease.

“If every country were going to put other countries on the ban list, very soon you would have a large number of countries on your red list,” the minister said.

“So, I do believe there are other ways of going about it. We in Nigeria do not regard banning flights and movements of people as particularly helpful and supportive.”

The UK’s move, which came a few days after Nigeria detected the new strain, followed a similar decision by the Canadian authorities.

“Foreign nationals who have transited or stayed in these 10 countries cannot enter Canada if they have been in those countries in the last two weeks,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told a press conference.

Aside from Nigeria, Egypt and Malawi were the other countries recently added to Canada’s travel ban list.

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Orji Kalu Not Leaving Our Party, Says APC

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The Abia chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said Senator Orji Uzor Kalu is not quitting the party.

The party, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Okey Ezeala, said Kalu realised his ambition of becoming a Senator after several futile attempts on the party’s platform.

The statement said: “To the best of our knowledge, the Senator representing Abia North on our party platform is going nowhere. This is authoritative.

“What is playing out is that Kalu and his supporters are finding it very difficult to swallow the humble pie and accept the fact that they have lost out in the 2021 congress of our great party.

“Their expectation that the state party structure will fall into their hands has become a bridge too far. They have refused to display the spirit of sportsmanship and queue behind the winners. The Abia North Senator is simply suffering from excess hubris.

“What we want the general public to know is that Senator Kalu is merely flying a kite, perhaps to attract the attention of the national leadership of our party to beg him not to leave. And if that eventually works to his plan, his primary objective would be to extract some concessions. Unfortunately for him, no winner in the congress is ready to concede his position.”
The statement urged the APC national leadership to call the bluff of Senator Kalu.

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Just In: DSS Arrests Ex-Minister, Dambazau

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A former minister of interior, General Adulrahman Dambazau has been arrested by the Department of State Security, DSS over ‘Economic Sabotage’.

Dambazzau, who is currently the Kano State Chairman of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) was picked up by the operatives over the unilateral closure of seven petroleum filling stations without following due process.

All efforts to make Gen. Dambazau open the filling stations fell in deaf ears as the move was an ‘illegal assignment’ which was beyond the powers of his office.

Citing section 48 of the Nigerian Constitution which clearly states that, any government ministry, department or agency exercising any power or function or taking any action which may have direct impact on midstream or downstream petroleum operations shall consult with the authority.

This according to the section is prior to issuing any regulations, guidelines, enforcement order or directives, which a security source emphasized that Dambazzau disregarded.

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