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NILDS DG, Prof. Sulaiman Wins 2023 Integrity and Public Servant of the Year Merit Award

He secured the highest number of votes after an extensive three-month consultation and rigorous voting process conducted by a panel of 51 members from the PCI – Technical Advisory Committee, representing five strategic public institutions in Nigeria.

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In recognition of his transformational leadership style and remarkable accomplishments, Prof. Abubakar O. Sulaiman, the Director General of National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), has been honored with the 2023 Integrity and Public Servant of the Year Merit Award.

He secured the highest number of votes after an extensive three-month consultation and rigorous voting process conducted by a panel of 51 members from the PCI – Technical Advisory Committee, representing five strategic public institutions in Nigeria.

According to a letter signed by the National Coordinator, Dr. Mohammed A. Ibrahim, conveying the news with the subject “Nomination as a Public Servant of the Year” (Shehu Shagari Gold Medal), the award presentation has received full endorsement from the presidency and technical support from the Public Service Institutes (PSI), Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

The award ceremony is scheduled for early December and will take place at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja.

The letter further explained that the former Minister of National Planning has been recognized for his exceptional contributions to Nigeria’s democratic institutions, a recognition validated by esteemed national and international organizations.

This year’s edition of the award will coincide with the Nigerian Regulators Conference & Retreat, where President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is expected to present plaques and medals to deserving recipients.

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Tinubu Signs Bill Returning Old National Anthem Into Law

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the National Anthem Bill 2024, reinstating the old anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee.”

Naija News reports that Senate President Godswill Akpabio announced this on Wednesday during a joint session of the National Assembly commemorating the Silver Jubilee of Nigeria’s 4th Republic.

Senate President Akpabio stated that the main purpose of the session is to launch the new national anthem. He added that President Tinubu will not deliver a speech, as he needs to leave to inaugurate the Abuja metro line.

The Senate and the House of Representatives had previously passed the bill in separate sessions.

The old anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was replaced by the current one, “Arise, O Compatriots,” in 1978.

Read the old anthem below:

Nigeria we hail thee,
Our own dear native land,
Though tribe and tongue may differ,
In brotherhood we stand,
Nigerians all, and proud to serve
Our sovereign Motherland.

Our flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign,
In peace or battle honour’d,
And this we count as gain,
To hand on to our children
A banner without stain.

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I won’t revert to old national anthem – Ex-Minister

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Former Minister of Education, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has stated that she will not adopt the old national anthem, recently reinstated by President Bola Tinubu as Nigeria’s official anthem.

Ezekwesili announced this on her X handle on Wednesday, asserting that no one can suppress her right to oppose what she termed an “obnoxious law” offensive to conscientious Nigerians.

She declared, “Let it be known that I, Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili, will, whenever required to sing the Nigerian National Anthem, sing:

‘1. Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fatherland
With love and strength and faith
The labor of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.’

‘2. Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice reign.’

The PUNCH previously reported that the Senate and House of Representatives swiftly passed the National Anthem Bill 2024, aiming to reinstate the old anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee.”

Julius Ihonvbere, the bill’s sponsor, argued for the need for patriotism and nationalism, PUNCH Online reported. The 10th Senate approved the bill after reviewing a report by Tahir Monguno, chair of the Judiciary Committee and representative of Borno North Senatorial District.

However, many Nigerians on social media questioned the relevance of this move, doubting its impact on the nation’s pressing economic issues.

Similarly, Ahmad Satomi, a lawmaker representing Jere Federal Constituency, Borno State, challenged the bill’s significance last week in the Green Chamber, sparking widespread debate.

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Kwara marks Gov AbdulRazaq’s fifth-year anniversary with projects commissioning

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May 29, 2024 saw a cocktail of activities of far-reaching socioeconomic impacts for Kwara as the state government launched different projects to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

The day opened with the commissioning of the 4.7km Yebumot-Adeta Roundabout and Adeta-Oloje roads, which the Governor named after two elder statesmen from the capital city — retired Major General Mohammed Abdullahi Adangba and prominent scholar Sheikh Yahya Murtadha Agodi.

The road commissioning was followed by a walk around the newly developed Flower Garden — currently the largest green space in Kwara purposely made for outdoor recreational activities, promotion of work-life balance, and protection of mother nature in the capital city.

The Governor walked the lawn of the garden in the company of the First Lady Amb. Olufolake Abdulrazaq, federal and state lawmakers, cabinet members, and dignitaries from within and outside of the state, including the managing director of NEPZA Dr. Olufemi Ogunyemi.

As AbdulRazaq did that in Ilorin, Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi was in the northern senatorial district to commission the Jebba waterworks, ending the community’s longstanding thirst for state-owned clean water source.

At the banquet hall in Ilorin, creme de la creme from Kwara and beyond joined AbdulRazaq to unveil the Ilorin City Master Plan, the second ever blueprint since the creation of the state in 1967, as well as the talk-of-the-town 20,000-hectare Ilorin Smart City project.

AbdulRazaq said the idea is targeted at making the capital city habitable, eco-friendly, and compliant with the rules that govern urban planning.

He said the Ilorin City Master Plan has been designed to guide a sustainable living of the people for the next 40 years, while the Smart City is an innovative response of the administration to the multi-dimensional challenges of urban living.

“Today, we are adding another cornerstone to the foundation laid over 48 years ago by the founding fathers of Kwara State, who designed the first master plan for Ilorin. But this is not so much about etching a foundation for the sake of it,” he said this at the launch.

“This is about making our capital city habitable, compliant with the rules that govern urban planning in the age of climate crisis, and bequeathing a legacy for those coming after us.

“As of this morning, the United Nations World Population Prospects put Ilorin as the third most populous metro area in the entire northern Nigeria, preceded only by Kaduna and Kano in the ascending order. Ilorin, according to this data, has had a population growth rate of between 2.53% in 2020 and 3.3% in 2024.”

AbdulRazaq said the new master plan is justified by the population growth that he said poses a great social threat without proper architectural designs.

“While the Ilorin City Master Plan has been designed to guide how we live sustainably for the next 40 years, the Smart City is our innovative response to the multidimensional challenges of urban living that now confront Ilorin, including congestion and the associated pressures it brings on the existing infrastructure,” he said.

“Designed to host 540,000 residents, the Smart City is a nine residential district city that is built in compliance with the United Nations prescriptions for urban living.”

The first phase of this ambitious project covers 11,000 hectares with an estimated N1.72tr funding requirements from public private investments between now (2024) and 2027, the Governor said.

Governor Abdulrazaq also launched a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station in Ilorin, adjudged by the Presidential CNG Initiative (PCNGi) as the first in the region.

He added: “The launching of this CNG station is the direct benefit of the fuel subsidy removal of last year. That policy shift meant a national decision to adopt a cleaner and cheaper energy source for a sustainable future.”

He added that it will translate to conversion of at least 20 state government vehicles to CNG-powered engines in this test run.

Some of the dignitaries that attended the marathon events included National and State parliamentarians; cabinet members; royalties; party chieftains led by the State APC Chairman Prince Sunday Fagbemi; religious leaders led by Chief Imam Ilorin Sheikh Muhammad Bashir; Zanna of Ilorin and Chairman Yolas Consultancy, Engr Lanre Sagaya; President, Ilorin Emirate Descendants’ Progressive Union (IEDPU) Alhaji Abdulmumin Abdulmalik; academics; technocrats; security commanders; and leaders of the business community among others.

Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Segun Ogunsola, for his part, said the Ilorin City Master plan is necessitated by rising population, assuring the people that the project will take care of critical aspects such as tourism, healthcare, education, recreation, and flood control.

Engr Sagaya, in his goodwill message, commended the Governor for embarking on a master plan that will enhance the physical development and environmental beauty of Ilorin City.

He recalled the discourse he once had with AbdulRazaq centring on the need to have a new Ilorin master plan to meet the status of a modern town.

“I thank your Excellency for embarking on all these laudable projects, which are not only beautifying the city, but also critical to solving the traffic situation at critical intersections and junctions in the town,” he said.

Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on the state Geographic Information Service (Kw-GiS) Abdulmutalib Shittu, spoke on the efforts of the Ilorin Master plan committee that was set up four years ago to provide a framework for the implementation, and vouched for the capacity of Dar Al-Handasah Consultant Ltd to deliver the project.

At the CNG launch, Programme Director of the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas initiative (PiCNG), Engr Michael Oluwagbemiga, commended the Governor for supporting the Presidential initiative, right from the onset and his great understanding of the benefits in the adoption of gas.

The Governor, meanwhile, flagged off the distribution of 16,000 textbooks across basic schools in the state.

He mentioned how the administration took Kwara out of the UBEC blacklist, paid the backlog of counterpart funds from 2013 to 2019, and again from 2019 to 2023, making Kwara up to date in that regard.

He said the administration has fixed thousands of classrooms across the three senatorial districts, recruited 4,701 teachers, and implemented a tech-based programme that has improved learning outcomes in the state.

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Senator Mustapha Congratulates Governor Abdulrazaq on 5th Anniversary, Lauds Developmental Strides

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Senator Saliu Mustapha of Kwara Central extends his heartfelt congratulations to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (CON) on his fifth year in office.

In a personally signed statement, Senator Mustapha described Governor Abdulrazaq as a transformational leader, lauding the governor’s exceptional leadership and his commitment to the progress and development of Kwara State.

He commended the Governor for his developmental strides since assuming office, noting that his leadership has brought significant advancements across various sectors of the state.

“The governor’s policies and projects have positively impacted education, infrastructure, security, health, and more. Since his assumption of office, his dedication to improving these vital areas is evident in the positive changes witnessed daily by the people of Kwara”, the lawmaker stated.

He urged the people of the state to continue supporting the governor and all elected representatives of the All Progressives Congress (APC), emphasizing that collective effort is essential for the State’s progress.

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Senate Responds to Senator Mustapha’s Motion, Summons Minister Over Stranded Nigerian Scholars Abroad

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The Senate on Tuesday, urged the Federal Government to impose sanctions on officials responsible for the pains and sufferings Nigeria students in countries abroad are facing.

It, therefore, summoned the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, and the leadership of the Federal Scholarship Board over the delay in the payment of outstanding grants to the students.

The upper legislative chamber also asked Tahir to provide a detailed report on the status of all Nigerian students under international scholarship programmes, including a breakdown of their unpaid entitlements.

*The resolution of the Senate followed a motion on a matter of urgent importance moved by the lawmaker representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, Saliu Mustapha.*

*He said, “These scholarships are part of a broader initiative to promote specialised education through partnerships with foreign institutions, facilitated by entities such as the Federal Scholarship Board, under the Federal Ministry of Education.*

“There are reports of Nigerian students facing hardships in Algeria, China, Morocco, Russia and the United Kingdom due to non-payment of tuition and living stipends, leading to negative media coverage and national embarrassment.

“The recurrence of these issues suggests systemic failures, despite previous interventions by this distinguished chamber to prevent such situations.”He added

“The Federal Government’s failure to meet its financial commitments under these international agreements for over 10 months will jeopardise the welfare and academic progress of the affected students.

“The failure to fulfil these obligations not only undermines our national reputation but also poses significant diplomatic concerns and risks, pushing our students towards unlawful activities to sustain their livelihood abroad.”

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Senator Ningi Recalled from Suspension

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Senator Abdul Ahmed Ningi has been reinstated by the Senate following his suspension.

Representing Bauchi Central, Ningi was suspended on March 12, 2024, after accusing the Senate of budget padding.

He was reinstated about two weeks before the end of his three-month suspension, which was set to conclude on June 12, 2024.

The recall process began on Tuesday with a motion from Deputy Minority Leader Sen. Abba Moro, who expressed regret on behalf of Ningi.

Moro accepted full responsibility for Ningi’s actions and acknowledged the severity of the suspension.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio announced Ningi’s unconditional recall after a brief appeal by some lawmakers.

In a BBC interview, Ningi claimed that projects worth N3.7 trillion were unaccounted for in the 2024 budget, sparking public outrage and questions directed at the lawmakers.

Responding to Ningi’s allegations, Akpabio stated that the accusation had damaged the Senate’s reputation and eroded public trust.

“Nigerians are criticizing the Senate. Many will no longer respect this chamber in the future. The integrity of this chamber has been severely compromised, and we wanted you to address this in your speech,” Akpabio remarked.

Following a plenary interrogation, Ningi was accused of causing mischief and suspended for three months.

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