‘Focus on governance, shun campaign for 2019’

The Companion Amir (National President), Alhaji Thabit Wale Sonaike flanked by National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Kamorudeen Ogunfowora (right) and Assistant National Secretary, Mr Saheed Amoo during The Companion briefing on the State of the National at its Headquarters in Lagos.

The newly elected National Amir of The Companion, Alhaji Thabit Wale Sonaike, has called on government not to allow 2019 election to distract them from focus of governance, re-jig its approach in the anti-corruption war in ensuring effective investigation of cases and speedy dispensation of justice.

Sonaike, at a press briefing in Lagos said 2019 general election appears to be at the top of every politician’s priority right now.

He said subtle campaign has started and if care is not taken, the attention of political office holders would be totally diverted from governance and this will further harm the economy which is gradually coming out of recession.

The national Amir commended the executive arm of government for the early presentation of the national budget to the National Assembly and called on the legislators and senators to ensure a thorough and quick scrutiny of the budget for signing into law by the end of the year.

“The national assembly should avoid going on any recess until after the conclusion of the budget debate. This has become necessary in order to walk the talk about change”, he said.

He lauded the government (especially at the federal level) for the fight against corruption and the steps that have been taken so far to win the war. “However, a better approach and more lasting solutions are to put in place measures that will prevent corruption instead of fighting it”.

“Appropriate technology and systems should be deployed with embedded checks and balances to checkmate impropriety and raise alarm. Infractions should also be punished without delay. When this is done embezzlement of funds will be drastically reduced,” he said.

Sonaike called on the government to increase patronage of made in Nigeria goods in order to encourage the consumption of locally made products. “This should reflect in official dress code, foods served at government functions, office equipment’s and decorations, official cars, oversea trips, contract awards and other allied activities of the government”.

He expressed dismay over the non-inclusion of University of llorin in payment of Federal Government Earned Academic Allowance.

“We find it curious to observe that the University of Ilorin was allegedly left out in the payment. This leaves a sour taste in the mouth, as the university is the only public university in Nigeria that has stayed out of ASUU strike in the last eighteen years and therefore deserving the payment more than any other federal university in the country.

The government should not only order the immediate payment of the university but should also investigate the circumstances that led to their exclusion in the list. Doing otherwise will be tantamount to an endorsement of strike action as the only language the government understands in order to get legitimate entitlements by its workers”.

He faulted the declaration made by President Donald Trump of United States of America to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Amir decried the recent report of slavery in Libya where Nigerians and other nationals are victims. “It is clarion call to African leaders especially the sub-Saharan African leaders to show more concern for the upliftment of their citizens and the development of their economies”.

“It is very sad to note that able bodied and young Nigerians who should stay back to contribute to the economic development of the country are being forced to flee in search of greener pastures. Government at all levels should pay more attention to infrastructural development, which have multiplier effects on the economy.

Un-interrupted power supply, motor able roads, public health care high quality education, safe air ports and seaports, favourable economic policies that will promote private investments are issues that should engage the leaders attention more than ever before. They have held Africa backward for too long.”

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