TONY AILEMEN:

Acting President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on Thursday reaffirmed government’s determination to address critical national challenges and institute good governance that will improve the living standards of all Nigerians.

“The best advertisement of good governance is its positive expression of happiness in the lives of the governed,” said Jonathan yesterday while inaugurating the Presidential Advisory Council, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Jonathan also inaugurated the Presidential Project Assessment Committee and the Monitoring Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission, describing the need to accurately assess the current state of all federal government projects as not only necessary but critical to national development.

“We have received reports of abandoned federal government projects; petitions of over-valuation and under-valuation and in some cases outright non-performance of some contracts,” he said.

The current effort he said is in recognition of the loud but healthy clamour for good governance across the country which, could be ignored, noting that the project assessment committee would help government to focus attention on completion and effective utilization of resources.

The Advisory Council is to provide the Federal Government with alternative inputs into policy formulation, promote good governance in the areas of power, economy, security, infrastructure, social sector, the electoral process, and the fight against corruption, among others.

Dr. Jonathan restated his belief that “the privilege and opportunity of service is a sacred trust that we must not betray. It is in this regard that the loud but healthy clamour for good governance across the country cannot be ignored. “We are here in the name of good governance and there is no going back.”

The Acting President told members of the council that their wealth of experience and the urgency to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people informed their selection, and urged them to come up with practical options that would guide the government in this regard.

“It is in pursuance of this goal and having due regard to the urgency of the moment, that I have requested that a team of men and women of distinguished pedigree be called to service at this hour and in the interest of our nation. This is beyond politics. It is the big call of our generation, and our citizens are expectant,” he said.

Jonathan assured that the inputs of the panel will not be treated with levity, adding that the Federal Government would pay attention to contributions within the terms of reference of the council.

Responding on behalf of other members, the council chairman, Gen. T.Y. Danjuma, said the Acting President had demonstrated commitment to excellence and a determination to succeed by constituting the council, and assured that the council would advise him “honestly and fearlessly.”

He formally congratulated Dr. Jonathan on his assumption of office as Acting President on behalf of members of the Advisory Council, saying, “we are confident that the great hopes which have been invested in you by the nation and the entire world will not be disappointed.”

“This is a decisive moment in our history. At such moments, God always ensured that a nation possesses significant personalities who can act as agents of change. Mr. Acting President, you are the significant personality that God has chosen at this time to save the country,” stated Danjuma.

He described the members of the advisory council as hardworking men and women who were all distinguished in their respective callings. “On our part, we take this assignment to heart and look forward to all we can do to make this administration a success.”

Other terms of reference of the Advisory Council include: to evaluate policy implementation and advise on areas requiring adjustments; to advise the President on how to maximize the benefits derivable from government’s efforts; to advise on such actions and programmes that may improve credibility and performance of the government, and advise on any other matter referred to it by the President.

The council has Lt Gen T. Y Danjuma, former Minister of Defence and Elder Statesman as its chairman, while foremost constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, will serve as Deputy Chairman.

Other members are Mr. Fola Adeola; Mallam Abubakar Gimba; Mr. Basil Omiyi; Alhaji M. D. Yusuf; Chief Emeka Anyaoku; Amb. G. B. Preware; Prof. Bartholomew Nnaji, and Mr. Kase Lawal.

Also in the council are Mallam Muhammed Hayatuddeen; Justice Alfa Belgore; Hon. Chibudom Nwuche; Mrs. Mobolaji Johnson; Hajiya Halita Aliyu; Alhaji Magaji Danbatta; Prof. B. G. Bajoga; Dr. (Mrs.) Sally Bolujoko; Mrs. Mariam Uwais , and Chief Kanu Agabi.

The remaining members are Dr. Bamanga Tukur; Alhaji Ismaila Isa; Prof. Shehu Said Sarinwata, and Dr. Simon C. Okolo. The Chairman, National Economic Summit Group, is also a member.

The Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation would serve as Secretary.

Also speaking at the occasion, Project Assessment committee chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Bunu, appreciated the Government for the privilege to serve, while assuring that the daunting assignment would be pursued with all sense of dedication. He appealed for cooperation and useful information from those handling the various projects so as to facilitate the completion of the assignment within the given three-month time frame.

The Committee’s mandate is to take inventory of all on-going projects awarded by the Federal Government; assess the level of funding of each project; undertake a physical inspection of each project to determine work done and to ascertain whether it is commensurate to the amount paid to the contractors; and evaluate the professional competence of the contractors handling the various projects.

It is also to determine whether the level of execution of the projects is in accordance with the terms of the contract agreement between the Federal Government and the contractor; examine a plan of action that is realistic, practical and achievable including implementation phases for the execution of the projects; examine the reason given, if applicable, why the projects were not executed in accordance with the terms of contract agreement at the time of the award; and make appropriate recommendations to Government on how to fast-track the completion of the projects.

While Bunu is to Chair this committee, Mr. Bon Otti is Vice-Chairman.

The other members are Mr. Iboro Ege-Edaba, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, Navy Capt. (rtd.) Caleb Olubolade, Prof. Aminu Mikailu, Mr. (Dr.) Idris Abubakar, Mr. Pius Okpa, Mrs. Kate Okparake, Mr. Usman Abubakar, Engr. Gbola Tokun, Mr. Etodo Inyang, Prof. Akoh N. Ugbabe, Mr. Ummi Aminu, Engr. Olusegun Adedeji, Mr. Khalil Inuwa and Mr. B. K. Mohammed. Dr. O. O Oluleye of the Office of Secretary of the Government of the Federation is Member/Secretary.

At the same ceremony, the Acting President also inaugurated the reconstituted Presidential Monitoring Committee on the NDDC, made up of 10 members for effective and easier management of the commission, and in accordance with Section 21(i) of the NDDC Act which empowers the President to appoint members of the Presidential Monitoring Committee on NDDC.

Dr. Jonathan pledged the present administration’s commitment to the development of the Niger Delta and the positive transformation of the Nigerian economy, and also congratulated all Nigerians on the restoration of peace in the Niger Delta.

He said government is determined to consolidate and build on the gains of the amnesty process, hence the reconstitution of the committee with a view to facilitate the rapid development of the Niger Delta region and putting an end to the pains of citizens who live there. “Our people expect much from us and we cannot afford to fail them,” he stated.

He urged members of the committee to bring their experience and institutional capacity to bear on the national assignment.

Chairman of the committee, Chief Isaac O. Jemide, pledged the commitment of members to the actualization of the goals of their assignment.

The other members are Prof. Richard P. King, Mr. Akene Furoebe, Barr. Richard Anetekhai, Mr. Innocent Nyengerifaka, Mr. Rabiu D. Abubakar, Alhaji Bello Maccido, Mr. Kanu Chiemezia Joel, Prof. Akinkube Oladepo and Mr. Reuben Ade. The Director (Parastatals) in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will serve as secretary.

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