Saturday, 2 February 2019

Governance Comes To A Standstill As Campaigns Take Over Nigeria

With a fortnight to the presidential and National Assembly polls, electioneering campaigns have slowed down the pace of governance in the country, especially at the executive and legislative arms of government.

The stepping up of campaigns by President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and many lawmakers have slowed down the pace of governance in the country.

The campaign has led to the cancellation of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which holds Wednesdays twice this year.

Section 148 ( 2 ) of the 1999 Constitution stipulates that the president shall hold regular meetings with the vice president and all the ministers of the government of the federation for the purposes of determining domestic and foreign policies of the government, to coordinate the activities of the president, vice president and ministers and lastly, to advise the president on policies and governmental affairs. The maiden FEC meeting for this year was held on January 9 and was presided over by the president. It was at that meeting that the council approved N812m  for Mambilla Hydro Power Project, $9m variation for Escravos to Lagos gas pipeline, 1.7bn for Kano flight information region project and establishment of four private universities. A 24-man panel for the implementation of the new minimum wage was also inaugurated.

The second tagged ‘Extraordinary FEC meeting’ was held on January 15, also presided over by President Buhari. It was at the meeting that the issue of the new minimum wage was finalised.

But the FEC meeting could not hold on the 23rd and 30th as both the president and vice president were on campaigns in some states. On the 23rd, the president was in Sokoto and Kebbi states. He was in Cross River and Ebonyi states on January 30, thus the meeting was put off.

In the absence of the president, the vice president presides over the FEC meeting where critical national issues and projects are discussed and approved.

Barring any last minute change, it may still not hold next Wednesday as the president is set to be in Nasarawa and Benue states for his re-election campaign.

The president’s campaign programme revealed that he will be preoccupied throughout next week, moving from one state to the other for his electionering campaigns.

If this happens, it would be the third consecutive time without the meeting holding.

President Buhari had during the inauguration of his Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) assured that governance won’t suffer and that the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, would fully be in charge of his campaigns.

Buhari said; “This campaign is going to tax us all, because we intend to touch all corners of our great and vast country. But I must also add that though we will all be deeply involved, I would like to assure the nation that I will do my part without making governance or my work suffer. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, my co-chairman, will be fully in charge, and is going to be on 24-hour vigil.”

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