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Reps spokesman cries during plenary over killing of Ekiti monarchs

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An inconsolable Akin Rotimi during plenary at the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday, January 30, 2024

A lawmaker, Akin Rotimi, broke down in tears on Tuesday on the floor of the House of Representatives while lamenting the killings of two traditional rulers in Ekiti State.

Rotimi, a member representing Ekiti North 1 (Ikole / Oye) Federal Constituency in the House, called the attention of the House to the heinous killings of two monarchs by gunmen.

The Onimojo of Imojo Ekiti, Oba Olatunji Olusola; and the Elesun of Esun Ekiti, Oba Babatunde Ogunsola, were killed when they were returning from a meeting in Irele-Ekiti on Monday.

Rotimi, who is also the spokesman for the House, on Tuesday, raised a motion of urgent national importance during resumption of plenary after a month break by the House.

Rotimi noted that there has been an increase in criminal activities in Ekiti North 1 (Ikole / Oye) Federal Constituency in recent times, resulting in the lost lives and properties.

He noted that the constituency is exposed to peculiar security challenges due to the nature of our forests and topography, and more painfully because Ekiti federal roads are some of the most dilapidated in the entire country.

The House thereafter resolved to urge the Chief of Army Staff to redeploy the military to the outpost along the Oke-Ako area of Ekiti to enhance security and forestall a repeat of attacks resulting in the death of the two monarchs.

The House also resolved to direct the Inspector General of Police, the Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp, and other security agencies to deploy more men to Ekiti North 1 and ensure that those who carried out that dastardly acts are fished out and brought to justice.

READ ALSO  Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, govs, others preach unity, patience, sacrifice at Eid-el-Kabir

Similarly, the House urged the Chief of Defence Staff to establish civilian joint forces in Plateau State following the attacks which led to the deaths of over 50 persons in the Mangu Local Government Area of the state.

This followed the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance raised by Ishaya Lalu, member representing Bokkos Federal Constituency, Plateau State.

Following the resolution of both motions, the House observed a minute of silence and mandate its committees on Defence and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

The House to this end, adjourned its plenary to Tuesday next week.

 

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Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, govs, others preach unity, patience, sacrifice at Eid-el-Kabir

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Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, govs, others preach unity, patience, sacrifice at Eid-el-Kabir

As the Muslim community celebrates Eid-el-Kabir, prominent Nigerian leaders such as President Bola Tinubu, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, House of Representatives Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, and various state governors among others, have extended their warm wishes to Muslims across the country.

This is as the Nigerian Hajj Commission, NAHCON, joined in the felicitations, offering special prayers for President Tinubu and the nation on Arafat Day.

This festive occasion, which honours the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, is a significant event in the Islamic calendar.

In their separate messages, the leaders emphasized the importance of emulating the values of sacrifice, obedience, and generosity that are embodied in the Eid-el-Kabir celebration, and urged Muslims to demonstrate these virtues in their daily lives, promoting unity, peace, and progress in Nigeria.

The leaders also seized the opportunity to pray for the country’s prosperity, security, and stability.
Tinubu in a statement by his spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, enjoined Nigerians to reflect on the essence of the occasion, which bears strong meaning and significance for the nation.

The president emphasized that sacrifice and duty are essential ingredients to nation-building, noting that it takes collective purpose, will, and action to bring about great change.

He called on citizens to spare a prayer for the nation for continuous unity, peace, progress and stability of the country.

In his goodwill message, Atiku Abubakar described the occasion as “a celebration of God’s love and mercy to mankind,” enjoined Nigerians especially those in positions of authority to imbibe the culture of compassion, love and sacrifice which are the lessons taught by Prophet Ibrahim.

Atiku said, “The message of Eid al-Adha is to remind ourselves about the commandment of God to show love to one another and uphold peaceful interpersonal relationships. The essential purpose of that message is that we must put our trust in God almighty at all times.

READ ALSO  House of Reps: Leaders of thought disagree over new debate on single tenure

“Even in the face of current hard times that many Nigerians are passing through, we must never fail to put trust in God and, more importantly, extend compassion and safety to the vulnerable people around us.”

Relatedly, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, LP, in the 2023 election, Mr. Peter Obi, has urged Nigerian Muslims to draw strength from the teachings of Prophet Ibrahim amid the ongoing hardship and suffering in the nation.

He said: “Amid challenges and uncertainties, let us draw strength from our faith and the teachings of the Prophet Ibrahim. His unwavering trust in Allah, his courage, and his willingness to sacrifice for the greater good are objects of inspiration to us all. As we celebrate, let us strive to be a source of hope, comfort, and support to those around us.”

Also, Senator Godswill Akpabio noted that Eid-el-Kabir signifies sacrifice and joy, advising Nigerians to make the necessary sacrifices for a better tomorrow.

He said: “Even as you celebrate this all-important feast of Eid-el-Kabir, we feel the pains of those of you who are struggling to meet up with their expected needs. We appeal to you to be patient as the good days are not far away.”

In the same vein, the Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin, urged the Muslim faithful to demonstrate the true spirit of the season by reaching out to the needy.

He called on them to seek Allah’s grace for the country’s peace, unity, security and economic prosperity.

Similarly, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, said the celebration was about total submission to higher authority, sacrifice, and charity and urged Nigerians to imbibe these virtues in their daily lives.

READ ALSO  Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, govs, others preach unity, patience, sacrifice at Eid-el-Kabir

The Speaker asked Nigerians, especially Muslims, to use this period for sober reflection and be their brother’s keeper at all times.

Likewise, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, has called on the Muslim faithful and indeed, all Nigerians to pursue unity and national cohesion.

Reminding the people that sacrifice is the cornerstone of the celebrations, Kalu also encouraged them to eschew selfishness and imbibe the teachings of Prophet Mohammed whose life provided a profound example of moral excellence, compassion, and leadership that transcends religious boundaries.

On the other hand, the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has tasked Nigerians with perseverance, good neighbourliness and sacrifice in pursuit of a progressive society, even as he urged the Muslim faithful to espouse the virtues which are the hallmark of this season.

He said, “I urge everyone to reflect on the peculiar state of our nation and espouse virtues that would promote peace, unity, good neighbourliness and sacrifice.”

His counterpart in Kwara State, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, in his felicitations, asked the Muslim community to reflect on the lessons of Hajj and the festivities around it, such as the virtues of patience, sacrifice, piety, faith in God, justice and fairness, support for one another, and persistent reliance on the creator in all areas of their lives.

Also, the Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has called on Muslim Ummar in Nigeria to use the occasion to reflect on the teachings of Prophet Ibrahim and strive to emulate his unwavering faith, obedience and dedication to serving the greater good.

He highlighted the significance of selflessness, compassion, and the willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of faith and the betterment of humanity.

READ ALSO  NCoS releases identities of 18 out of 96 fleeing Suleja inmates

Similarly, Governor Dikko Radda of Katsina State has called on Muslims to celebrate with compassion, selflessness, and a focus on strengthening community bonds.

He highlighted the importance of learning from the sacrifices made by Prophet Ibrahim and his son, Ismail, and urged Nigerians to translate “these lessons into acts of kindness and understanding that promote peace and solidarity within the state.”

Furthermore, the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has urged Lagosians and Nigerians, particularly the Islamic faithful, to continue on the path of spirituality and peaceful coexistence and imbibe the lessons of the sacrifice made by Prophet Ibrahim.

Sanwo-Olu implored all Nigerians to keep their hopes alive and continue to work for the unity, peace and progress of the nation.

In like manner, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has urged the Muslim faithful to use the occasion to strengthen their dependence on God’s unfailing mercies.

It also enjoined all Nigerians especially the Muslim Umah, to equally use the season to reinforce unity, love, brotherly care, mutual respect and a sense of patriotism in all their dealings.

Meanwhile, as Muslims from different countries around the world assembled at the plains of Arafat, a sacred hill in Saudi Arabia for major Hajj rites yesterday, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, offered prayers for the country and administration of President Bola Tinubu.

At a special session organised by the commission, prayers were rendered by a team of scholars under the umbrella of the Ulama Committee of NAHCON, in different Nigerian languages.

They prayed against all forms of insecurity such as kidnapping, banditry and terrorism, while also praying for peace, national unity and economic development of Nigeria.

Source: Vanguard

 

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Ruling houses kick against Adeleke’s presentation of staff of office to Osun monarch

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Ruling houses kick against Adeleke’s presentation of staff of office to Osun monarch

Following the presentation of the Staff of Office to Prince Kazali Olagunju as the new Akosin of Ekosin, five ruling houses have kicked against Governor Ademola Adeleke over the appointment.

The ruling houses of Ekosin in Odo-Otin Local Government Area hinged their opposition to the appointment of Olagunju on the basis that he is not a member of any of the ruling houses in Ekosin.

Addressing newsmen in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State on Saturday, Prince Kayode Asa from Nyanbilolu Ruling House speaking on behalf of other ruling houses whose representatives and head were present, tasked the government not to regard Olagunju as a king of the town, until the determination of a case at the Court.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the reckless abuse of office, power and the sheer disobedience to the rule of law, perpetrated by some political officers in the administration of the Governor of Osun State, Ademola Adeleke, over the filling of the vacant stool of Akosin of Ekosin.

“The appointment of Olagunju violates trust and confidence in public office holders, we were told that the court case would be allowed to run through before a monarch was announced.”

Reacting to the ruling houses, Prince Kasali through his counsel, Barrister Yemi Abiona, said the king was selected by his ruling house and his name was sent to the kingmakers who elected him under the previous government, adding that the family of Nyanbilolu was the one that approached the court on the matter.

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“When this new administration came on board, the committee set up to investigate chieftaincy issues cleared Oba Olagunju. The first suit that was instituted by Nyanbilolu came after the selection process had been completed and the governor, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, and the Attorney General were not joined in the matter.”

 

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NCoS releases identities of 18 out of 96 fleeing Suleja inmates

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NCoS releases identities of 18 out of 96 fleeing Suleja inmates

Authorities of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) have released the names of 18 fleeing inmates of the Suleja medium security custodial centre out of 119 who fled the facility in April.

The inmates fled the facility following torrential rainfall which destroyed its perimeter fence. About 23 of them were later recaptured in different places but the authorities have kept mum over the matter for security reasons.

Our Correspondent gathered that the release of the names 18 inmates was necessitated by efforts to speed up their recapture by security agents following what was considered a “top priority “.

The released database of inmates includes detailed information about them to assist law enforcement agents to recapture the escapees as well as make it possible for members of the public to identify them and report to security agents.

The escape of the 119 inmates from the Suleja Centre in Niger State created panic within the environment.

But the Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo who on same day visited the facility assured residents of the area not to panic as security surveillance would be mounted to recapture the fleeing inmates.

Spokesman of the Nigeria Correctional Service, NCoS, Abubakar Umar at a security briefing in Abuja assured that the fleeing inmates would be recaptured.

He said about 23 of them have been recaptured, and assured that at the right time the biometric details of the fleeing inmates would be released to the public.

READ ALSO  Police recruitment: IGP, PSC clash over corruption allegations

Our correspondent however gathered from the website of NCoS that the service has released the details of only 18 out of the remaining 96 fleeing inmates.

Their names are Ogbonna Kingsley, Auwal Mohammed, Mustapha Ibrahim, Suleiman Sani, Raphael Kingsley, Abdullahi Babangida, Idris Bashir, Umar Mustapha, and Ayuba Obidience.

And the others are Lamido Gambo, Garba Fidelis, Mohammed Jibrin, Sylvester Allison, Albert Israel, Edoga Okwudili, Olaiya Stephen, Audo Usman and Ibrahim Aminu.

 

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Sallah: Ansar-Ud-Deen urges Tinubu to work on food sufficiency

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Sallah: Ansar-Ud-Deen urges Tinubu to work on food sufficiency

The Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria has extends greetings to all Muslims across Nigeria and around the world on the occasion of Eid-il-Adha celebrations.

The organisations enjoined Nigerians to reflect on the spirit of sacrifice and the teachings of Prophet Ibrahim, who demonstrated unwavering faith and obedience to Allah.

A statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammed Sola Hassan, called on the government to implement policies that support agriculture,, provide incentives for farmers, and ensure that food distribution systems are efficient and equitable.

Hassan said food security is a pressing issue that affects millions of Nigerians.

He said: “The economic situation has placed significant strain on the livelihoods of many Nigerians. Inflation, unemployment, and a high cost of living are realities that cannot be ignored. It is a time for us to unite in seeking solutions and supporting one another.

“We urge the Federal Government to take the bull by the horn by intensified in the provision of mechanized farming across the geo-political zone of the country in order to have abundance of food sufficiency and thereby conquer food insecurity.”

Source: The Nation

 

READ ALSO  House of Reps: Leaders of thought disagree over new debate on single tenure
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Police recruitment: IGP, PSC clash over corruption allegations

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Police recruitment: IGP, PSC clash over corruption allegations

A fresh row between the police authorities and the Police Service Commission (PSC) broke into the open yesterday after Police Inspector-General Kayode Egbetokun accused the commission of manipulating the ongoing 2022/23 Police Constables Recruitment Exercise.

Egbetokun slammed the PSC for alleged corruption of the process through smuggling in of names of “candidates who failed either the Computer Based Test (CBT) or the physical screening exercise or both.”

The PSC however denied the allegations and dismissed them as not only in bad state but diversionary.

It demanded a forensic audit of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Computer Based Test which the police authorities had queried.

It wondered why “it is only during recruitment exercises that police confrontation manifests, suggesting obvious hidden interests and corrupt tendencies.”

The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, in a statement, said the police had to cry out after they were “inundated with series of complaints and allegations of corruption raised by unsuspecting candidates and stakeholders on the irregularities that marred the exercise.”

Adejobi claimed that upon careful scrutiny of the list released on the PSC portal, the police discovered some names of “successful candidates” who did not even apply and therefore did not take part in the recruitment exercise.

His words: “The published list contains several names of candidates who failed either the Computer Based Test (CBT) or the physical screening exercise or both.

“There are those who made it to the last stage of the exercise but were disqualified, having been found medically unfit through the standardised medical test, but who also made the list of successful candidates as published by the PSC.

“Most worrisome is the allegation of financial dealings and corrupt practices leading to the outcome where unqualified and un-trainable individuals have been shortlisted.”

Egbetokun had on June 10, 2024 written a letter of objection on the list addressed to the Chairman of the Commission, citing the discoveries.

Adejobi said the reaction of the IGP was without prejudice to the power of the Commission to recruit for the police as confirmed by the Supreme Court in a case between the two sides.

But he said this power “does not include the power to recruit unqualified and untrained individuals for the police.”

He added that it is the police that bear the brunt of recruitment of unqualified individuals and not the PSC.

READ ALSO  Sallah: Ansar-Ud-Deen urges Tinubu to work on food sufficiency

“The same people who recruited anyhow for the police today will turn round to accuse the police tomorrow of inefficiency when their recruits start messing up,” he said.

The police, according to him, have dissociated themselves from the published list and called for a review that will be transparent and credible.

He recalled that the leadership of PSC, as a fallout of the pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the powers of the Commission to recruit for the police, had constituted a Joint Recruitment Board to be headed by a PSC Commissioner with the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Training and Development in the Police Force as its Secretary.

“But surprisingly, the Board was crippled and never allowed to carry out its mandate, insomuch that even the final list was not consented to by the Board,” Adejobi said.

“The Nigeria Police Force therefore takes exception to this unpleasant development and calls for a total review of the process with a view to recruiting qualified, competent, trainable and productive hands into the Nigeria Police Force, in line with the vision of His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s led administration on police reform.

“The NPF hereby reiterates that we are not unconcerned about the plights and ordeals of prospective recruits who have been subjected to all forms of rigorous screening exercise, assuring that it is our commitment to ensure that the process is thoroughly reviewed, stands fruitful and successful for the betterment of the Nigeria Police, and by extension the country.”

Read Also: IGP’s alleged irregularities, corruption of police recruitment process diversionary – PSC
Your allegations are diversionary – PSC

In a swift reaction to the police allegations, the Joint Union Congress of the PSC said due process was followed in the recruitment.

In a statement signed on behalf of JUC by Ogundeji Remi and Adoyi Adoyi , the PSC accused the police of seeking to stop it (commission) from exercising its constitutional power to appoint people into the Force despite the unambiguity in the powers of the PSC as spelt out in the 1999 Constitution and the interpretation of such powers by the Supreme Court.

“This clandestine scheming by the Inspector General of Police to usurp such powers is obviously an affront on both the Nigerian Constitution and judgment of the Supreme Court,” the JUC said.

Continuing, it said: “The Commission is at a loss why it is only during recruitment exercises that police confrontation manifests, suggesting obvious hidden interests and corrupt tendencies.

READ ALSO  House of Reps: Leaders of thought disagree over new debate on single tenure

“To address the issues raised by the FPRO in the above release, it is worthy of note that after the Commission got judgement from the Supreme Court on the 11th of July, 2023 re-affirming its powers to, amongst other things, appoint qualified Nigerians into the Police Force as stipulated in the paragraph 30 Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Nigerian Constitution thus: The Commission shall have power to (a) appoint persons to offices (other than the office of the Inspector-General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force; the Commission to ensure inclusiveness constituted a Recruitment Board comprising of a Commissioner from the Police Service (PSC) as Chairman, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Development and Training Department as Co-Chairman/Deputy Chairman, CP Hassan Yabanet representing Police Training Colleges (NPF), Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Olabode Akinbamilowo as Secretary to the Board amongst others.

“The Board had representatives from virtually all the stakeholders in the Police Sector such as The Commission, the Police, Ministry of Police Affairs, Federal Character Commission, the Police Colleges and the Police Trust Fund.

“The claim that the Recruitment Board was crippled and was not allowed to function was no doubt a fallacy as the Board severally met before the release of the list of successful candidates.

“The same Board met and endorsed the list that was released on the 4th of June, 2024 at their usual meeting point, PSC Corporate Headquarters, with the DIG Training, Mr Frank Mba and other Police representatives in attendance.

“Meanwhile, it is also worthy of note that the Police had shortlisted and concluded the exercise without the knowledge of the Board and PSC. They had the effrontery to submit the list to the Commission.

“They wanted a meeting of the Board where they had planned to force the list on the Board, but unfortunately their plans collapsed.

“For example, this takes us back to 2019 when the then IGP hijacked the list of candidates of the smooth ongoing recruitment exercise from the Commission in the guise of having the list to prepare the training colleges for the training purposes and ended up smuggling hundreds of names of persons who neither applied nor participated in the screening process.

“A case in study is Nasarawa State with 13 local government areas that is supposed to have had 253 successful candidates but ended up having 528 after the NPF had sneaked 275 candidates in excess. That culminated into the Commission instituting a legal action against the NPF over our mandate.”

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The commission demanded a forensic audit of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Computer Based Test results and its comparison with the list released by the Commission.

It said the list of the successful candidates as released by the Commission was open to anyone or organisation for forensic examination to establish its authenticity.

The union said the commission would not at any time involve itself in any untoward activities in the process of recruiting qualified Nigerians into the Force.

It challenged the police and any other interested body to investigate any act of financial dealings and corrupt practices as alleged by the Force Public Relations Officer.

PSC said: “Considering the power and mandate of the Commission as derived from the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (and eventually reiterated, interpreted and established by the Supreme Court judgement of the 11th of July, 2023) and the 2001 Establishment Act of the Police Service Commission, the Commission is the only Executive Body charged with the responsibility, amongst others, of appointing qualified Nigerians into the Nigeria Police Force.

“However, as we mentioned earlier, based on the democratic nature, sense of responsibility, inclusiveness and transparency of the Commission, it has always involved other relevant Bodies, including the NPF, in the recruitment process.

“However, we would not succumb to any form of blackmail and threat as demonstrated by the Inspector-General of Police in the Press Release with reference number CZ.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.6/178, dated June 15, 2024 by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), signed on behalf of the Inspector General of Police.”

In the Supreme Court ruling, the apex court declared the PSC as the sole authority charged with recruiting constables into the force.

The case stemmed from an approval given by former President Muhammadu Buhari for the recruitment of 60,000 constables over a period of six years at the rate of 10,000 per year.

“The board will screen and ensure that only able and qualified members of the public are recruited into the NPF, reflecting also the principle of Federal Character,” PSC spokesperson Ikechukwu Ani had said soon after the judgement.

President Tinubu last Monday approved the appointment of retired Deputy Inspector General of |Police Hashim Argungu as the chairman of PSC to replace retired IG Solomon Arase.

Source: The Nation

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House of Reps: Leaders of thought disagree over new debate on single tenure

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House of Reps: Leaders of thought disagree over new debate on single tenure

That Nigeria is not getting the best out of the present structure of government is a known fact. Over the years, the issue of tenure review to check the excesses and authority of the president and state governors has remained on the front burner of public discourse.

Nigerian Leaders

While some people have argued in support of the existing two-term tenure, there are a legion of others who are rooting for a single term.

For the protagonists of single tenure, the major attraction is that incumbents are less likely to use the state’s institutions to manipulate elections or alienate their rival contenders. On the part of the leaders, they feel more pressure to deliver results and leave office with a positive legacy.

More importantly, the need to change leadership encourages a new generation of political leaders, fresh ideas, and possible policy changes.

It also promotes healthy competition needed to strengthen democratic institutions and the democratic process thereby focusing politicians on governance rather than re-election. It also reduces campaign costs and tempers the unrest caused by the elections.

From the botched Second Republic to the present dispensation, the idea of single tenure has endured all successive governments. However, due to a lack of consensus, it has died many times and resurrected accordingly.

Apart from its inclusion in the recommendations of the national political conference organized by former President Olusegun Obasanjo along with its third term agenda, the administration of Goodluck Jonathan also made a feeble attempt to send the proposal to the National Assembly to pass into law.

On Tuesday, a fresh debate ensued again in the House of Representatives over the desirability or otherwise of a bill proposing single tenure for the president and state governors.

The bill was sponsored by a group of over 30 lawmakers under the aegis of the Reform Minded Legislators seeking constitutional alterations to provide for the rotation of the presidency among the sigeo-political zones.

According to them, when the bill becomes law, it will reduce government spending, eliminate wastage, and bring about efficiency in governance and national stability following the practice of a single term of six years for the president and the governors.

Already, the bill has passed the first reading. The Coordinator of the group, Hon. Ikenga Ugochinyere, said: “The electoral reform bills have gone through first reading.

“We are a group of Reform-minded lawmakers committed to using the instrument of lawmaking to reform Nigeria and our political process, constitutional and electoral reform has been a burning topic in Nigeria since independence from Britain in 1960.”

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He explained that the current political arrangement had some identified distortions, defects, and limitations that called for urgent, focused, and realistic attention.

So, it’s a whole range of reforms, covering governance, economic, security, and justice sectors, among others.

The section of the proposed bill that is of particular interest to the majority of stakeholders is the one seeking to amend Section 3 of the Constitution to provide for the recognition of the division of Nigeria into geo-political zones, as well as the creation of the office of two vice presidents from the southern and northern parts of Nigeria.

According to the lawmakers, the first vice president shall be a succession vice president, while the second vice president shall be a Minister in charge of the Administration and Economy, and both shall be Ministers.

While some leaders of thought described the tenure limit as a welcome idea, others dismissed it as a distraction.

Chief Chekwas Okorie, sharing his perspective of the bill with Sunday Sun, said that the intention of the sponsors might be good, but it was done in bad taste.

He went down memory lane, narrating how the late Alex Ekwueme frantically fought for the inclusion of six geo-political zone arrangements in the constitution, but all to no avail.

His words: “The idea of the bill is not novel. It has been on the front burner for a long time. In the case of the late former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, he fought gallantly at the national conference and included it in the new constitution Nigeria had under the late General Sani Abacha. It was Ekwueme who proposed six zonal structures for Nigeria for the rotation of the presidency.

“The idea was that Nigeria would have attained stable nationhood by the time the rotation goes round in 36 years so that it would not matter anymore where the president comes from. However, the provision was dropped. It was well debated, adopted, and recommended.

“However, the Northern political elite that wouldn’t want power rotation in that order went and advised Abacha to come up with another committee to review the recommendation of the conference. It was at that point that that brilliant suggestion was dropped.

“That is why till today the provision for the six geo-political zones is not contained in the 1999 constitution. Nigerians just mention it at their convenience. If Ekweume’s proposal had been allowed into the constitution, every zone would have had the presidency for one term. By now, Nigeria would have attained unity and coercion. The issue of where the president comes from will no longer matter.

READ ALSO  House of Reps: Leaders of thought disagree over new debate on single tenure

“After Ekwueme, some other leaders like former President Goodluck Jonathan made a similar suggestion, but did not take any direct steps to ensure the implementation by using the executive bill. It is so unfortunate that the sponsors of the bill are now coming up with such an idea at this time to distract all of us.

“To me, it is a mere distraction. The condition put in the 1999 constitution for the creation of a state makes it impossible to create new states. It is like the biblical proverbial camel passing through the eye of the needle. Coming with a private member bill at this time is ridiculous and diversionary.

“No matter the good intention of the proposal, it is in a very bad taste. The sponsors of the bill even named the state he wanted to see created from his local government. Two days later, Hon Ned Nwoko submitted his bill, calling for the creation of Anioma State, and even went further to say that Anioma should be incorporated in the Southeast so that the imbalance in the state creation would have been resolved. I don’t see it passing the second reading. It will end at first reading.”

Okorie maintained that only a restructuring of the country could address some of the fundamental problems inherent in the existing federal system, urging President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take the bull by the horns.

“Let them amend the constitution and incorporate this thing we are talking about in a new constitution. If it is to ensure equality of the zones, let it be in the constitution. It becomes constitutional.

“Already, some people are saying that the issue has been overtaken by events. All we need to do now is restructure Nigeria and let states be the federating units and give each unit the latitude to develop at its own pace. That is why we are expecting President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who has been part and parcel of true federalism in Nigeria to use his good office to either support constitutional arrangements to make Nigeria a more federal state or produce the executive bill in that regard. This private member bill will not see the light of day because it is self-centred. It is dead on arrival,” he declared.

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Another elder statesman and Second Republic politician in Kano State, Tanko Yakassai, also speaking with Sunday Sun, argued that single tenure would add more to the cost of governance in the country.

He said: “I think they have not done their homework very well because the more you hold elections in the country, the more costly it will be. I don’t support the proposal. According to my calculation, the more you hold elections, the more costly it will be for the country. If you reduce the tenure of the president or governors, it will mean more elections. The idea of a second term is to make people perform not the other way round.

“If they know that they have no stake again after six years, they will do worse things. Again, you know what the legislators in the national and state assemblies are taking as salaries and allowances. The more elections we hold, the more money they will make and the more costly it will be for the country. What we need now is a reduction in the cost of governance.”

However, former Deputy National Chairman (Southwest) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Shuiab Oyedokun, in his opinion, applauded the bill as a welcome development, saying that it would reduce unhealthy competition characterizing the present system.

“Both single and two-term tenures have advantages and disadvantages. But for some reason, I prefer a six-year tenure. In my view, I think it is a good development. The main disadvantage of two-term tenure is the usual cutthroat competition which distracts those who seek a second term from governance while in their first tenure. They always concentrate on subtle mobilization as preparation for a second term. And that discourages many other people who can also aspire because they deliberately alienate other contenders.

“A single term of six years will enable those elected to concentrate on governance. However, to make it effective, the immunity of the governors must be reduced. If they know that they have only six years to spend in office, they could unleash some havoc on society. Therefore, it should be accompanied by checks and balances so that people will not become autocratic within six years,” he posited.

By and large, the debate is still raging on. The next few weeks will determine how far the lawmakers can go in seeking concurrent approval from the two chambers of the National Assembly.

Source: Sun News

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