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How Lagos Will Achieve Universal Health Coverage, By Sanwo-Olu

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FIRST BABIES

…Says SDGs Actions Must Be Beneficial To Future Generations

Lagos State Government has reiterated its commitment to strengthening public health research and boosting the capacity of healthcare workers towards achieving the Item 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, spoke at the yearly symposium of the African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) where he assured the audience of his administration’s willingness to pursue actions and policy frameworks that’ll help the state improve on universal health coverage indices.

The week-long event with the theme: “Strengthening Health Research Education and Service Delivery for Achieving SDGs in Africa”, was held at the Lagos Continental Hotel on Victoria Island, Lagos.

The participants comprised health researchers, policymakers and stakeholders drawn from various African countries and America.

In demonstration of his commitment to improve the quality of healthcare in Lagos, the Governor disclosed that he would be appointing a cabinet-rank official that would constantly monitor the state’s performance in realising SDGs, particularly the Goal 3, which is to ensure universal health coverage and elimination of inequality.

He said: “The theme of this symposium is not only critical and important to my administration’s development agenda, it is also an important topic to us as human beings. I am delighted to listen to the content of lead papers presented, which brought out new ideas on how we can strengthen health coverage. I believe inter-professionalism is also critical in driving the conversation.

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“This discussion can be profound at this point in time when all government leaders are putting SDGs as critical anchor to drive policies in Africa. Lagos takes healthcare as a priority and if Lagos gets it right, Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa will definitely have good indices to showcase to the world.

“To demonstrate our readiness, I have promised that my cabinet will have a government representative who will be involved in the decision making at the cabinet level and whose responsibility would ensure that Lagos has up-to-date tracking of our progress in SDGs, especially health, education, safe water and environment. We have signed on to deliver all these goals.”

Sanwo-Olu said his administration would not relent in complementing the effort of government health workers to achieve universal health coverage in line with the dictates of the United Nations, but he called on international research organisations and development agencies to extend their funding supports to health researchers in public sector for maximum impact adding that Lagos introduced the first ever state-led health insurance scheme not only to increase access to quality healthcare for the vulnerable, but also to make health affordable to all residents irrespective of status.

Sanwo-Olu charged today’s leaders and policymakers to invest resources for the healthcare benefit of the future generation, stressing that efforts must be made to ensure that nobody was left behind in the actions being taken in the present.

“All the goals in the SDGs are really about ensuring that we did not limit the capacity of the future generation in human performance. We must deploy all the resources that we have today to cater for the future generations,” the Governor said.

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The Director of Centre for Sustainable Development (CESDEV), University of Ibadan, Prof. Olanrewaju Olaniyan, in his paper, observed that health was the constant component of all items on the SDGs.

In 2018, the don said more than two-third of countries in sub-Saharan Africa performed below the benchmark set by the UN for the realisation of the development goal which according to him necessitated the need for increased investment in health research.

To make health research work for realisation of SDGs and achieve universal health coverage in sub-Saharan Africa, Prof. Olaniyan suggested four key areas the government and policymakers must focus on.

He said: “African governments need to engage and create an environment that will ensure seamless implementation of plans, financial strategies that will cut waste, partnership that will strengthen the outcome, and clear line of communication and outreach.

“Capacity building and skills development must also be improved on, including greater participation of women in health research.”

The event which was chaired by the Vice Chancellor University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe was also graced by the immediate past Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, among other dignitaries.

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Amotekun Not Threat To Nigeria’s Unity – Tinubu

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Bola Tinubu

National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has called for private discussion between the governors of the South-West and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over Amotekun, a security outfit launched by governors in the region.

Tinubu said the foundation of the country has not been put at risk with the security outfit launched by the governors of the zone in a bit to confront the insecurity in their states.

The former Lagos governor, however, warned that the nation’s fabric could be torn by what he called the “dangerous rhetoric of those who should know better.”

In his first intervention in the controversy surrounding Amotekun, Tinubu said in a statement on Wednesday: “Those claiming that this limited, inoffensive addition to security threatens the Republic have taken themselves upon a madcap excursion.

Those claiming that the Federal Government seeks to terribly suppress the Southwest have also lost their compass. Those who occupy these two extremes have sunken into the dark recesses of fear and political paranoia that can undo a nation if such sentiments are allowed to gestate.”

The statement continues: “Amotekun. This issue has dominated recent discourse and media headlines. Distilled to its basics, it concerns how best state governments can assist with the safety and security of their residents. This is a matter of serious concern entitled to sober thought. However, it has been turned into a political tug-of-war. Fierce, often unthinking rhetoric, for and against, has crossed the lips of too many Nigerians. More subjective talking than objective thinking has been the fuel of this outburst.

Question those in favour of Amotekun. Most have but the vaguest notion about it. They know few details yet vigorously attribute to its opponents the most negative intentions. Ask those who oppose Amotekun. They are equally ignorant of its provisions. They oppose the initiative not on its merits but merely because it was proposed by their political opponents or because they don’t see an avenue for personal gain from it.

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“While colourful, the rhetoric has been disconcerting. How people have mishandled this matter demonstrates that we still have far to go in perfecting this democracy. Too much energy has been spent distorting this issue instead of seeking a resolution that supports local enhancement of security while keeping the constitution intact. If this becomes the standard for how we handle disagreements then we will obscure Nigeria’s path forward with our own rubbish.

“In this matter, I do not see malign intent in the differences of opinion between the SW Governors as authors of Amotekun and the Attorney-General as the primary law enforcement officer of the Federal Government. Shorn of the overly dramatic language, what lies before us is but a step in the evolution of our federalism. This is an opportunity to more clearly define that federalism; but one cannot attain this better, more functional definition through overblown, emotional language. Objectivity and calmness are required. To a significant degree, the enduring quality of our republic will be established by the sagacity with which we handle disagreements regarding the division of power between federal and state governments. Such disagreements are inevitable. This is not the first. Nor will it be the last. We must devote our energies more toward solving problems rather than amplifying them.

“Seeking to fulfil their mandates by helping protect their people, the governors of the Southwest collectively established a program to buttress existing security mechanisms. Seeking to protect the constitution as best he could, the Attorney-General offered his opinion on what he believed the governors have sought to do. No one can blame either party for seeking to fulfil what they genuinely see as their public duty.

“Until now, I have deliberately maintained a studied silence regarding Amotekun. Many have tried to goad my swift public reaction. Those who have taken this road did so not because they care about Amotekun or even the people it intends to help protect. They did so knowing this had become a delicate and emotional issue for many. These cynics did so with the adversarial hope that, in haste, I might misspeak or misstep in a manner they could twist to their political advantage.

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Such people are possessed of a mercenary aspect that permits them to sacrifice almost anything, even jeopardize the very foundations of our political unity, if they might exact personal gain from the upheaval. In that they know no nobler purpose than their own appetites, we should feel sorry for them. However, we must not allow our sympathies for their barren condition to persuade us that there is worth in their destructive misconduct. They must be left to the consequences of their own devices.

“If truly I am a political leader as I am often described, then I have not the luxury of hasty, ill-conceived utterances. There are those who will use inflamed words to spark the passions of others. This may bring transient applause. But when the cheers fade, we shall only have further descended because their words were never inclined toward resolution and long-term improvement but toward short-term popularity and perpetual confrontation.

“I believe in this nation and its benign prospects. I dearly love its people, all of them. Over the years of our existence, they have suffered much. Yet they still hold forth with heroic patience and an extraordinary optimism born of strong faith. To these people, I owe my best. I shall not treat them cheaply or bandy their emotions like some errant football. The welfare of these good and decent people is my overriding concern.

Equally, I do not cow to the demands of those who press for me to make a premature statement on an important issue. Again, that is a game devised by those who care more about political cleverness than the quality of governance. I chose to talk when my position has been made ripe by a collection of the facts and a reasonable assessment of those facts.

Culled: Qed

 

 

 

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10 Imo Lawmakers Defect To APC

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Secretary

At least 10 members of the Imo State House of Assembly have defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The defectors includes members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Action Action (AA).

Deputy Speaker of the house, Okey Onyekanma, who resigned as Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business led the pack which included Minority leader of the assembly Ekene Nnodimele who also resigned his position.

 

Other lawmakers who jumped ship includes PDP’s Chyna Iwuanyanwu, Chidiebere Ogbunikpa, Paul Emeziem, Heclus Okorocha, Authur Egwim, Obinna Okwara, Johnson Duru, Ngozi Obiefule and AA. Ekene Nnodimele.

The letters of resignation and defection were read by the speaker, Collins Chiji, at the plenary.

The resignations came after Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma sacked all members of the Interim Management Committees (IMCs) in the 27 councils of the state. The committees were constituted by the immediate past governor, Emeka Ihedioha, on assumption of duty in June last year, after suspending the elected office holders following a resolution to that effect by the Imo House of Assembly over alleged financial malfeasance and other allegations against them.

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Supreme Court Affirms Gaduje’s Election

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The election of Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has been affirmed by the Supreme Court.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abba Kabir Yusuf, had filed an appeal at the apex court to dispute the March 24 supplementary election held in some electoral wards in Kano State.
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