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FG too big, we must decentralize – Deputy President of the Senate

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The Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, says the functions of the Federal Government as currently constituted is too big and should be adjusted.

He made this assertion in Abuja on Monday during an interview with newsmen.

Ekweremadu said that the Federal Government as currently constituted was too large and difficult to operate.

According to him, the states have little roles to perform whereas the Federal Government is overburdened with responsibilities.

“We believe that the Federal Government as presently constituted is too big and we need to adjust it.

“In a situation where you have in the concurrent list only about 16 items, most of the other things are in the exclusive list.

“It doesn’t make sense, so we need to find a way of trimming the Federal Government to the benefit of the component states.

“So that some of these issues don’t become federal issues and that is the idea of federalism.

“We are looking at that, things like arbitration, agriculture, environment and such issues. Some of these things should go to the concurrent list and even the Police,” he said.

The deputy president of the Senate noted that the solution to Nigeria’s security situation was the decentralisation of the Police and allowing state governments to have their police.

He pointed out that each state varied in the kind of security challenges and the kind of policing required.

On the fear that state government could hijack the force in their states, he said that there should be a commission to oversee the state police just like the National Judicial Council (NJC) oversees the judiciary.

“We cannot decentralise the police now because some people are still opposed to it.

“But I think it is beginning to make sense that you cannot be able to deal with our security situation in Nigeria except we change our security architecture.

“There is no place in this world where a federal system has a unitary type of policing which we have now.

“This is why we will continue to get it wrong in solving our security problems.

“It is not going to work until we change the architecture of our policing: a federal state as big as Nigeria must have to adopt a decentralised police.

“But we need to first take Nigerians to the level where they will understand this,’’ he said.

Also, Ekweremadu said that local governments should also be given some level of autonomy so that they too could perform their functions.

He said the reason for scrapping local governments’ account and merging it with state governments was that the states could contribute some money to what the local governments receive from federation accounts.

“We need to create some level of independence for the local governments, especially in the area of funding.

“We can look at section 162 of the constitution where the issue of withdrawing the local government account was created.

“So I believe that if that is abrogated, local government can now get their funds directly. It is not as if we are trying to create something new.

“I was a Local Government Chairman in 1997 and we were getting our funds directly from the Federal Government.

“So, we want to give the local government that level of autonomy so that they are able to perform their constitutional responsibilities,” Ekweremadu said.

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Politics

Jonathan: PDP is coming back in 2019

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is getting stronger and poised to take over power come 2019.
Jonathan said this on Wednesday when he hosted Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, in his house in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state capital.
Jonathan, who lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2015 is optimistic that his party is now in a better position to regain its ruling status.
“I believe PDP is coming back and getting stronger,” he said.
“Yes, we had some issues in 2015. But as you know politics is a very dynamic business. Even though we are in the opposition with fewer governors, PDP is still the strongest and largest party.”
Abubakar, in a similar manner, also said there is no other party that has the structure and strength like the PDP.
The former number two citizen who lost in the APC primary election that produced Buhari, has since defected to the PDP and he is aspiring to run under the platform in 2019.
“It is actually the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has the strength and structure to get back to Aso Rock,” he said, adding that “without PDP, APC should not have been in Aso Rock.”
He also expressed his disappointment with the current administration.
“Have we ever had this rate of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria? Have we ever had five sets of exchange rate before in this country? Have we ever had so much insecurity like this before? No! Have we ever been this divided before in this country? No!”

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2019: Atiku meets Goodluck Jonathan in Bayelsa

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As the 2019 election gets closer, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday met with former president, Goodluck Jonathan.
They met in Bayelsa home of the former president.
However, details of their meeting were not disclosed as at the time of filing this report.
Before now, both men have always been on opposite sides politically until Atiku made his move to join PDP last year.
Meanwhile, Atiku is set to compete with two times Senator, Ahmed Makarfi for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, nomination form ahead of the 2019 presidential election.

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Fighting corruption: Probe your 2015 campaign fund, PDP tells Buhari

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Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to show his sincerity in the fight against corruption by probing the source of his campaign fund in 2015 general elections.
President Muhammadu Buhari
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, who stated this at the 2018 Ogidi Day celebration, at Ogidi, Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, claimed it was ironical that the president had allegedly been speaking with both sides of the mouth on issue of fighting corruption.
Ologbondiyan said: “The President’s remark sounded strange to us in the Peoples Democratic Party because we believe as a party that the president has been providing cover for alleged looters around him and we believe that if the president is sincere about the fight against corruption he should make a public disclosure about how his election fund in 2015 was raised.
“He should tell us who contributed what, but, if he refuses to do that, Mr President does not have any moral platform upon which he would stand and accuse any Nigerian of being a thief.
“The PDP is challenging Mr President that he should make a full disclosure of how his election money was raised in 2014 and he should tell us what was the contribution of the people.”
Speaking on the plan by some former members of the party and others to return to PDP, Ologbodiyan said the doors of the PDP were wide open for anybody that was ready to rescue the nation from alleged misrule of All Progressives Congress, APC.

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