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[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - The Presidency yesterday distanced itself from the statement allegedly made by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo that certain nominees need no Senate confirmation.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said at no time did the Federal Executive Council take a position or decide on the issue.
The AGF and the presidential spokesman separately addressed State House correspondents after yesterday’s FEC meeting, presided over by Osinbajo.
The Senate had on Tuesday resolved to stop all confirmation hearings for nominees forwarded by Osinbajo until the question over its power to confirm appointees is resolved.
It had in April suspended the confirmation of President Buhari’s nominees for Resident Electoral Commissioners over his refusal to remove the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, whose nomination it had twice rejected following a report by the Department of State Security Service.
Malami said: "The fundamental consideration about the alleged statement (by Osinbajo) is the fact that at no point ever did the Federal Executive Council sit down to arrive at the decision in one way or the other as far as the issue of nomination or otherwise is concerned. So, I do not think it constitutes an issue for the Federal Executive Council to make any clarification about because it has never been considered by the FEC."
Shehu clarified that the remarks made months ago by Osinbajo on nominees’ confirmation was his personal opinion.
He said Osinbajo was being misconstrued for merely corroborating a lawyer’s view that a certain category of appointees need not undergo Senate’s screening.
Shehu emphasised that there was no official position or decision on the matter by FEC.
*Photo Caption - Nigeria presidential seal

[ Masterweb Reports: Linus Effiong reports ] - National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Abia State has said women are increasingly abusing drugs in the state. The state Commander of the agency, Mr Akingbade Bamidele, told the Daily Trust in Umuahia yesterday that women between the ages of 15 and 35 were getting more involved in drug consumption and abuse.
"Some of the females consume and abuse multiple drugs, especially tramadol, amphetamine and cannabis," he said, calling for partnership with the Abia State government to curtail the trend in the interest of the individuals and the state. "This will have devastating consequences on the future of the state if adequate measures are not taken at the right time," he warned.
*Photo Caption - As seen.

[ Masterweb Reports: Tony Adibe reports ] - The Chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Enugu State chapter, Rev Dr. Godwin Madu, has faulted the radical approach adopted by leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in agitating over perceived marginalization of the South-east zone, saying such approach was not in the best interest of the Igbo or Nigeria as a country.
Dr Madu, who spoke yesterday in an interview with Daily Trust on Sunday shortly after a special prayer meeting for peace in the country, organized by the Enugu PFN, cautioned the IPOB leader and his group, as well as other pro-Biafra bodies to dialogue rather than engage in activities that could heat up the polity.
Madu said: "Nigeria is good as a country. Anywhere we feel aggrieved, the matter could be addressed amicably instead of heating up the polity and creating unnecessary tension in the entire country."
The PFN chairman also appealed to Arewa youths to sheath their swords, saying violence will not profit anyone.
He said, "Nigeria has no particular landlord, hence no tribe is empowered by the Constitution to issue quit notice to any other ethnic group".
But a member of the state PFN, Apostle Nelson E. Israel called on the Igbo in the north not to take the threat by the Arewa youths as an empty one, saying "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."
Apostle Israel, who claimed that he has three blood relations resident in Nasarawa, Kaduna and Abuja, advised the Igbo to leave the north before the end of August 2017, insisting that they should not wait for September to end in order "to avoid rush."
Earlier during the prayer session, 36 persons representing the 36 states of the federation were called to the podium, to offer fervent prayers for God to cause peace to reign in the country.
*Photo Caption - Nnamdi Kanu

[ Masterweb Reports: Linus Effiong reports ] - Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State in the 2011 general elections, Chief Reagan Ufomba, has dumped the party. Chief Ufomba confirmed the development to Daily Trust on Sunday in a telephone interview.
Chief Ufomba, who was the Chairman, National Reconciliation Committee of All Progressives Grand Alliance, said, "after due consultation, I wish to officially announce my resignation from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)."
"We would however continue to pray for the party to overcome her numerous problems. From the bottom of my heart, I wish the party well in its future endeavours.
"My thanks go to our numerous supporters and loyalists. I enjoin all of you to be patient and law abiding while our next political move will be discussed in due course."
*Photo Caption - Reagan Ufomba

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress yesterday warned Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, against playing politics with President Muhammadu Buhari’s health.
Addressing state house reporters in Abuja, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, described Fayose’s assertion that Buhari was on life support in London as a cheap and hate statement capable of heating up the polity.
Okorocha asked Nigerians to disregard Fayose’s statement which he described as baseless, saying the Ekiti governor was fond of creating confusion.
He noted that anybody could fall ill, maintaining that President Buhari’s health was in the hands of God.
According to Okorocha, there was neither vacuum nor cause for alarm as Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had stabilised Nigeria, hence the need for Nigerians to support him, "as we’re hoping that very soon, Mr. President will come back and join us."
He said: "I want to advise that Fayose’s statement should not be regarded, it is baseless and there is no substance in that information. What he said is not right, it is uncalled for and that is simply heating up the polity. In our culture and traditions, we do not play politics with people’s lives and anybody can be sick, anybody can be in the hospital."
He said he did not understand if Fayose was speaking as a person or in his capacity as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum, "but whatever it is, people must disregard this statement.
"If anybody is to speak about the president’s health, Fayose does not have the qualification to speak for the nation on whether Mr. President should resign or stay. In our culture and tradition, we sympathise with those who go through pains of ill-health; at that time, we don’t wish them death, we wish them well," he added.
On the allegations that Buhari was being treated with tax payers money and the call for the disclosure of his health status, Okorocha said: "If there is an announcer that President Buhari today lacks money to treat himself abroad, believe me, more than 20 million Nigerians will contribute for his health. So, this is neither here nor there. You must understand what he represents and who he is," he said.
*Photo Caption - APC logo

[ Masterweb Reports: Maureen Onochie reports ] - Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu has urged Muslims to use the occasion of the Eid-el-Fitr celebration to pray for unity and peace in the country.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, Muhammadu said
has issued signal to all State Commands of the Corps to beef up security and
ensure massive deployment of personnel to strategic locations to prevent

He also urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and report any suspicious movement

to security agencies.

He said the operation will cover recreation centres, public places, critical

infrastructure and public utilities.
*Photo Caption - As seen.

[ Masterweb Reports: Abdullateef Salau reports ] - The British High Commission in Abuja has hailed the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for proactive measure to address agitations occasioned by ultimatum for the Igbos to vacate the northern region within three months.
A statement by the mission’s press officer, Joe Abuku, said the United Kingdom unequivocally supported the rights of Nigerians to live in any parts of the country without harassment.
The mission therefore called for calm and reconciliation between the different ethnic groups and communities in the country.
"All Nigerians are entitled to live wherever they want in Nigeria, and we support that right unequivocally.
"Statements calling for the forced removal of one group or another to another part of Nigeria are dangerous and irresponsible.
"We commend and support the Acting President and all those who have opposed these statements.
"We call for calm and for reconciliation between the many ethnic groups and communities that make up and contribute to the strength and diversity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria," it stated.
The acting president Osinbajo had held reconciliation meetings with the leaderships of south east and the north.
Osinbajo said the meetings had become imperative in view of divisive statements in recent weeks, pitching the South-East against the North.
*Photo Caption - As seen.

[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. C. K. Ekeke reports ] - I have been reading a number of articles and essays written by so-called Igbo scholars and intellectuals on Biafra and on-going challenges in Nigeria.  Some of them make me sick.  
I have never wanted to respond to them except on few occasions. However, this piece by Dr. Nicky Okoye warranted such a response.  Even though, I’m not in the business of responding to writers and public commentators, because I believe each person is entitled to his or her opinion; however, it must be based on facts.  Ideas and opinions based on facts not on selfish and self-seeking purposes. 

And so, the article: The Igbo Nation: A Story Of Successes written by Nicky Okoye, is also a case of one single narrative.

First: Dr. Okoyesays that Ndigbo complains ofmarginalization “based on who and who gets Federal Government appointments.” 

Federal appointments is just a small part of the satanic and systemic marginalization against the former Eastern region of Nigeria.  Does he not know that no person from the Eastern region heads any of the 13 major military and intelligence institutions in Nigeria today or serves in Buhari’s kitchen cabinet – out of the 42 appointments he made?

The only time an Igbo man headed the Army unit was during the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan when Major General Iherjirika was pointed as Army Chief. 

I wish Dr. Okoye is reading the series on: “Why Nigeria Must Be restructured.”
Does it make sense that the State of Kano receives more revenue allocation than all the five States in Southeast combined?  Does he not know that the crude oil that is flowing at my backyard is controlled and owned by a man from katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto, etc.? 

I’m posting the series for him to goggle and read.

·Oil Resources Revenue: Why Nigeria Must Be Restructured Now! [5]
Written by
 Created: 12 June 2017
·Bloody Religious Crises: Why Nigeria Must Be Restructured Now! [4]
Written by Tim Elombah
Created: 05 June 2017
·Oil Blocs: Why Nigeria Must Be Restructured Now! [3]
               Written by Tim Elombah
               Created: 03 June 2017
·Revenue Allocation: Why Nigeria Must Be Restructured Now! [2]
Written by
Created: 02 June 2017
·Injustice of Revenue Allocation in Nigeria - by Annkio Briggs
Written by Annkio Briggs
Created: 02 June 2017
Second, has Dr. Okoye visited the Southeast region recently assuming he does not live in SE?  Does the region look like rest of Nigeria?  Southeast looks like a conquered region – with army, police and all kind of military checkpoints everywhere on major dilapidated interstate roads and even State as well local roads.
Here is just a short list of infrastructural injustices against former eastern region: These are uncompleted and unfinished federal projects in Southeast region.
·The 2nd River Niger Bridge
·East-West Highway
·Enugu-Onitsha/Enugu-PH Expressways
·Akanu Ibiam and PH International Airports
·Calabar and PH Seaports
·Dredging of River Niger
·Eastern Gas Pipeline network (CAP)
·Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC)
·Ogoni oil spillage cleanup
·Legislative Constituency Projects
·National Conference convened by President Jonathan that adopted, among other things, the restructuring of the country.
·The Constitutional Amendment, initiated under President Umaru Yar’Adua, and funded to the brim to address the concerns for equitable distribution of states and local governments.
·And many others

Third, does Dr. Okoye not read or hear about the relentless rape of young girls, married women, torture, and massacres being unleashed upon people of Eastern region by Hausa-Fulani and Fulani herdsmen? 

Below is just a recent list and does not include the pogrom and genocide of the 1940’s, 1960's, 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and continuous massacres of today being committed against the people of eastern region.  This is a list of unarmed young Biafrans rightly agitating for self-determination, which is an international law.
·Onitsha massacre of 30th August 2015,
·Head Bridge Onitsha massacre of 17th December 2015
·Aba High school massacre of 9th February 2016
·Nkpor massacre of 29th and 30th May 2016
·Asaba massacre of 30th May 2016
·Port Harcourt massacre of 1/20/2017
·Asaba Delta State massacre on 12th February 2017
Does he have an insight into the politics of Boko haram and the global powers behind Chibok girls that dethroned Goodluck Jonathan? Does he know that Michelle Obama, Hilary Clinton and other powerful women and men from the United States of America all tweeted and campaigned about phantom Chibok girls?

Forth, Dr. Okoye writes about Igbos are the wealthiest group in Nigeria because of their businesses all over Nigeria, which include, Road Transportation (Buses), Spare Parts, Electronic devices, Pipeline laying, Petroleum Tank Farms, Computer Technology, Cooking Gas, Building materials, Boutique Hotels, International Trade, Wines and Liquor, Cosmetics, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Private Hospitals, Oil Servicing, independent Filling Stations, tyres, watches, office equipment, household fittings, tiles and flooring, shoes and leather products, markets, shopping malls and plazas, medium and low cost housing, SME manufacturing, etc.”
That assumption is partially correct, because no Igbo or person from Eastern region has ever been listed among the billionaires of Nigeria/Africa.  Northerners and South Westerners (SW) continue to make the list:

Here is a link for him to read:
Aliko Dangote (North), Mike Adenuga (SW), Folorunsho Alakija (SW), are Femi Otedola (SW) are the billionaires well known in Nigeria/Africa and guess what, they are all in oil business controlling the crude oil that runs from my backyard.  In addition, Dangote has all the import licenses which include cement, rice, sugar, tomatoes and other essential goods that come into Nigeria.

Can Dr. Okoye name one Igbo or anyone from the SE/SS who has such large-scale import license? 

There is no doubt that Igbos are industrious and hard-working.  However, they do not control the main source of Nigeria’s wealth – crude oil, which is located all over former Eastern region: Abia, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Imo, and Rivers.
Fifth, division or separating from Nigeria does not mean that Ndigbo will lose all their businesses in the North and SW.  If it is done peacefully through U.N. and global powers, Igbos won’t lose much.  By the way, there is no material possession or wealth that compares to freedom.  When an armed thief or arm-robber comes to your house, do you protect your life and those of your family members or protect your properties?  Nations fight and people die to be free.  It is because of freedom that Christ died for human-beings.
The dishonesty, ignorance, fear, and cowardice of some Igbo intellectuals baffles me.  Does this writer not see what is going on Nigeria?  Does he read at all?  Has he taken time to read and study about the Fulani invaders and radical Sunni Muslims?  Does he know that Fulani were strangers and invaders in Nigeria?  Today not only do they control the entire Hausa/Nupe/Tiv and Middle Belt indigenous peoples and their lands, but they control Kwara State, and recently major part of Ebonyi State.  If we don’t stop them now, one day they will conquer us, enslave and Islamize us all.  That’s the command of Usman Dan Fodio – who fought his way through West Africa into Northern Nigeria inhabited by the Hausas. 

Sadly, Nigeria has two kinds of radical Islam: Sunni and Shiite.  But the most radical is Sunni because of their strict adherence to Koran. There are moderate Muslims – like the Sufi in Senegal and Ibadis in Oman.  They are very peaceful.  Even the Shia Muslims are much more moderate and peaceful than the fundamentalist jihadist Sunni.
Sunni is one of the curses of Nigeria, and the second is crude oil.
Sixth, he suggests that restructuring of Nigeria is the way forward. For years, many wise voices both from SE/SS and SW have been calling for restructuring but the north have adamantly said they don’t want restructuring.  Recently, the AGF said no amount of agitation will lead to restructuring the entire northern elders and leadership do not want restructuring.  So, what do we do?  Continue with the status quo – because it favors the North. Do we continue in a lawless, corrupt and failed Nigerian State for fear of warmongering north or lose our properties in the North?
For me, Nigeria is even beyond restructuring. It must be divided because it is a failed and abominable contraption created by Britain for their economic-political domination of Africa... Even great and civilized empires have come and gone. So, what is special about Nigeria?  There is nothing absolutely special about Nigeria.


Seventh, he says that Igbos have produced the Central Bank Governor, Charles Soludo, the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the Minister of Petroleum (by marriage) Mrs. D. Madueke, the Chief of Army Staff, General Ihejirika, etc.” 

But he forgets to mention that for over 50 years since after the civil war, an Igbo has never been allowed to lead the country either militarily or contest for presidency under any major party.  An Igbo has never been president and allowed to head any major military institution until off course General Ihejirika during the presidency of Jonathan.  Why would a major tribe, a major stakeholder of the Nigerian project be forbidden to lead the country?  Does he know that such satanic and senseless agenda exist in addition to other systemic injustices against Ndigbo?  
In the handover notes Lord Lugard wrote to his colleagues, Walter H Lang, on the 25th of September 1918, he said the following:
·The HAUSA-FULANI has no ideals, no ambitions save such as sensual in character.  He is a fatalist, spendthrift and a gambler.  He is gravely immoral and is seriously diseased that he is a menace to any community to which he seeks to attach himself.
·The YORUBA – Lagos has for 20 years opposed every Governor and has fomented strife and bloodshed in the hinterland…., I have spent the best part of my life in Africa; my aim has been the betterment of the natives for whom I have been ready to give my life.  But after some 29 years, and after nearly 12 years as Governor here, I am free to say that the people of Lagos and indeed the westerners are the lowest, the most seditious and disloyal, the most purely prompted by self-self-seeking money motives of any people I have met.
·The IGBO.  These people are predominantly Eastern Nigeria are fiercely rebellious with no regard for authority.  Though industrious and religious, in deference to the objectives of her majesty and the crown, they are highly dangerous to be trusted with power. 

Honestly, that seems to be the correct description of the three major tribes of Nigeria.  However, I still take IGBO any day because of their ingenuity, creativity, productivity and true religiosity.  Even though they are rebellious to authority, they can learn and be changed.  Igbos are republican in nature, however, as I have written before: Ohanaeze/Ohacracy do not characterize the best and purest form of leadership.  We must learn to trust and obey those appointed, or selected or elected to lead us.

The Igbo distrust for leadership is in fact the main reason colonial Britain ceded power to the North, whom they can control. 

Finally, Dr. Okoye made this atrocious statement:  “So, a young man (referring to Nnamdi Kanu) was given access to a microphone, on a radio station and then he started spreading a hate message which has resonated with a number of his fellow ethnic group. “

I do not know Nnamdi Kanu.  I have never met him.  But after listening to some of his messages and the organization he put together called Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).  I’m bold and unashamed to say that Nnamdi Kanu is not only a great and courageous leader but a prophet.  It is a statement that is open to debate in future.

Dr. C. K. Ekeke is a theologian, author, consultant, and leadership scholar. He is the founder and president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
*Photo Caption - Igboland map.

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday signed the 2017 appropriation bill into law. Osinbajo signed the fiscal document shortly after the Presidency released a statement quoting President Muhammadu Buhari from London as giving him the backing to do so.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated: "Following the receipt of a full brief on the 2017 Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly, and to buttress the unity at the highest level of government, President Muhammadu Buhari has indicated that it is in the interest of the nation's economy for the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to sign the Appropriation Bill into law.
"In a letter dated June 10, 2017, which he personally signed and addressed to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, the President also said he was "pleased by the joint resolution that the Executive would submit next year's budget proposals by October 2017 and the National Assembly will conclude the Appropriation process by December 2017, so that the country can return to a normal fiscal period from next year onwards."
Osinbajo signed the document at 4:45pm inside the conference room of the Office of the Vice President at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The signing was witnessed by Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan, House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief of Staff to the President Abba Kyari, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun, Budget and Planning Minister Udoma Udoma, Information Minister Lai Mohammed, among others.
The acting president thanked the leadership and members of the National Assembly for completing work on the 2017 Appropriation Bill.
He said while the process of preparing and processing the bill was much smoother than the 2016 Appropriations Bill, there were no allegations of errors, or mistakes on the part of the executive as there was a significant improvement in the quality of the preparation as well as the presentation.
He said during the budget defence sessions, there were far fewer reported cases of acrimony, or hostile wrangling between the MDAs and the National Assembly committees this year than in the past.
"From the reports we received, the sessions were generally conducted in a friendly atmosphere. There is no doubt that our democracy is maturing," Osinbajo said.
He said the final presentation and the signing of the budget had been considerably delayed largely due to disagreements "we had about the changes introduced to our 2017 Budget proposals by the National Assembly."
He said the executive took the view that the changes fundamentally affected some of its priority programmes and would make implementation extremely difficult and in some cases impossible.
He stated: "I must say that the entire leadership of the National Assembly led by the Senate President and the Speaker, adopted a commendably patriotic and statesmanlike approach to our engagements on resolving these critical issues.
"In sum, the engagements yielded acceptable results . The most important being that the leadership of the National Assembly has given us a commitment that the National Assembly will re-instate the budgetary allocations for all the important executive projects, such as the railway standard gauge projects, the Mambilla Power Project, the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos - Ibadan Expressway etc. which they had reduced to fund some of the new projects they introduced.
"This re-instatement will be by way of an application for virement by the Executive which they have agreed will be expeditiously considered and approved by the National Assembly. It is as a result of that understanding and the outcome of our detailed engagements that we feel able to sign the 2017 Appropriations Bill into law today."
He said the executive and the leadership of the National Assembly had jointly resolved to return to a predictable January to December fiscal year.
"It is a particularly important development because this accords with the financial year of most private sector companies, underscoring the crucial relationship between government and the private sector."
Osinbajo said on the understanding that the executive would be submitting the 2018 budget to the National Assembly by October 2017, the leadership of the National Assembly had committed to working towards the passage of the 2018 budget into law before the end of 2017.
The acting president sais the signing of the budget would trigger activities in the domestic economy which would ead to job creation and more opportunities for employment, especially for the youth.
He said the executive would be returning to the National Assembly to seek upward adjustments by way of virements in relation to a number of critical projects "which had received inadequate provision in the budget just passed by the National Assembly."
Osinbajo said: "The 2017 Budget, which I have signed into law today, is christened "Budget of Economic Recovery and Growth" and reflects our commitment to ensure strong linkage between the medium-term Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) recently launched by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and the annual budgets.
"It is designed to bring the Nigerian economy out of recession unto a path of sustainable and inclusive growth. The budget has a revenue projection of N5.08 trillion and an aggregate expenditure of N7.44 trillion. The projected fiscal deficit of N2.36 trillion is to be financed largely by borrowing.
"Let me assure those who have expressed concern about the growing public debt that we are taking several actions to grow government revenues as well as plug revenue leakages. This is because, notwithstanding the fact that our borrowings are still within sustainability limits, we are determined, in the medium term, to reduce our reliance on borrowings to finance our expenditures.
"Details of the budget, as approved by the National Assembly, will be made available by the Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning.
"As you are all aware, our economy is already signaling a gradual recovery as growth is headed towards positive territory. First quarter GDP, at -0.52% compares favourably with -2.06% in the first quarter of 2016.
Inflation is declining - down to 17.24% from 18.74% as at May 2016. Our external reserves are now US$30.28 billion as at June 8, 2017 up from US$26.59 billion as at May 31, 2016.
"We are also gradually instilling confidence in our exchange rate regime. This improvement in GDP growth and other macro-economic indicators is largely attributable to our strategic implementation of the 2016 Budget as well as stronger macroeconomic management and policy coordination.
"I am confident that the 2017 Budget will deliver positive economic growth and prosperity – one that is self-sustaining and inclusive. In this regard, the 2017 budget will be implemented in line with our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
"Over the 2017-2020 plan period, we are focusing on five (5) key execution priorities, namely:
*Stabilizing the macroeconomic environment;
*Agriculture and Food security;
*Energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products;
*Improved transportation infrastructure; and
*Industrialization through support for micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs).
"The 2017 budget includes provisions that reflect these priorities. To demonstrate our commitment to following through our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the 2017 budget allocates over N2 trillion to capital expenditure, principally infrastructure.
"For instance, we are committing over N200 billion to improve transport infrastructure such as roads and rail; over N500 billion for investments in works, power, and housing; and N46 billion for Special Economic Zone Projects to be set up in each geopolitical zone.
He said the 2017 budget provides a lot of opportunities for partnerships with the private sector because the government alone cannot achieve the overarching goal of delivering inclusive growth.
"To help the private sector thrive, we are determined to create an enabling business environment. We are already recording verifiable progress across several areas ranging from a new Visa-on-Arrival scheme to reforms at our ports and regulatory agencies.
"The Online business registration process has reduced time required for business registration from 10 to 2 days. It is expected that the Executive Order on transparency and efficiency in the business environment will make it even easier for investors to get the permits and licenses they require for their businesses.
"Pursuant to our commitments to the Open Government Partnership, we recently issued an Executive Order that will promote budget transparency, accountability and efficiency. We want to make the Federal budget work more efficiently for the people.
"Thus, beyond the huge provisions for investments in critical infrastructure, we have mandated Government agencies to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods. This will open more opportunities for job creation with benefits for government in form of tax revenues.
"We are also working hard to improve our revenue collection efficiency so that we can achieve our revenue projections. While we are deploying technological tools to enhance collections, the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) will continue to contribute significantly to improving transparency and accountability over government revenues.
"Our fight against corruption is yielding positive results. Some of the recoveries are included in the 2017 Budget which will be expended on identifiable capital projects. Already, we are beginning to see some improvement in the quality of public expenditure. This is great motivation for us to remain resolute in our fight against corruption so that economic prosperity is enjoyed by all Nigerians."
Osinbajo assured that the implementation of our 2017 budget would bring added impetus to the ongoing economic recovery, saying the government would intensify its economic diversification efforts to expand opportunities for wealth creation and employment, thereby creating inclusive and sustainable growth.
"Our path to progress and abundance is clear. The tools are in place and the resilient, resourceful and hardworking Nigerian people are set to go. I have no doubt that by the grace of God, the bleakness of recession is about to witness the uplifting dawn of abundance," he said.
*Photo Caption - Nigeria Acting President Yemi Osinbajo

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - Acting President Yemi Osinbajo says it is important for African countries to remain united so that the continent could take its rightful place in the international community. He spoke while receiving Ms. Moushira Khattab, a special envoy from the Egyptian President, Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi, who is vying for the position of Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
"We have seen the great importance of UNESCO," Prof. Osinbajo noted, adding that this is especially so at a time Nigeria was confronting the challenges in the Northeast, including the planning for the education of hundreds of thousands of displaced children. It is important that Africa remains united to take its place, and we stand to benefit the most that way, including in the work of UNESCO," he said.
Osinbajo assured Khattab that Nigeria would consider the support she sought for her election.
Khattab conveyed the greetings and best wishes of the Egyptian president to President Buhari wishing him speedy recovery and safe return to Nigeria.