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Gbajabiamila, Wase Clash

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“Mr Deputy Speaker, this is the first time in history…I have been in this House for many years, perhaps even longer than anybody here…this is the first time in history that a Deputy Speaker will be challenging what the Speaker is saying.”

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, clashed in the chamber during the plenary on Wednesday.

Gbajabiamila had reportedly recommended Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the coming 10th House, leading to their endorsement by the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Wase, who is eyeing the seat of Speaker, is a member of the G-7, a group of aspirants aggrieved with the leadership zoning formula of the APC, which plans to adopt a member to run against the party’s candidate.

Towards the end of the session, Gbajabiamila asked the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata, to prepare a light order paper for Thursday as the sitting should close by 2 pm to allow members to attend an event at the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies.

Miffed by the announcement, Wase said, “Mr Speaker, I’m getting to see this getting so funny and we have lost quite a number of periods of time. For the commissioning of projects for God’s sake! Why do we have to shelve a lot of activities that we have just to go and witness the commissioning of a project of NILDS?

“I want to beg, sir, that we should do our functions. Those who have the interest to go, they have the right to. But our main primary function in this parliament is to make law and our citizens should be our priority.”

As Gbajajabiamila was responding, saying, “Perhaps, DS, you don’t appreciate the importance of NILDS like some of us do. I think NILDS is very important,” the Deputy Speaker interjected, “I have every information and idea of what NILDS is!”

The Speaker stated, “It was set up by this same institution by statute. We are not adjourning the House to go to NILDS; what I said was, ‘Let’s try and make it light and leave here by two.’ If you want, we can resume by 10(am). We will do our work but we will adjourn this House at 2 pm. I will witness the NILDS (event) because it is important to me.”

Rising against, Wase replied to the Speaker, “The parliament is about us, not about ‘I.’”

Shocked by the Deputy Speaker’s outburst, Gbajaabiamila said, “Mr Deputy Speaker, this is the first time in history…I have been in this House for many years, perhaps even longer than anybody here…this is the first time in history that a Deputy Speaker will be challenging what the Speaker is saying.”

Wase fired back, “I don’t understand what you mean by challenging, sir. That I should not make my contribution?”

Ignoring the Deputy Speaker’s last comment, Gbajabismila said, “Let me repeat please: Chairman Business and Rules, please make the order paper very light. We are adjourning this House by 2 pm tomorrow.”

Our correspondent had reported earlier on Tuesday that strong indications had emerged that the relationship between the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House had gone from bad to worse, as Wase was allegedly shunning meetings and interactions with Gbajabiamila.

A source in the leadership of the House, who confirmed Wase’s recent disappearance in the leadership processions into the chamber on Thursday and Tuesday, said the Deputy Speaker is “angry” with the Speaker.

The official, in a written response to our correspondent, said, “There is development. Wase no longer attends the leadership meeting before the plenary.

“He does not follow the Speaker’s procession any longer. He did it last week and even today. He is angry. It is like he no longer wants to go close to Gbajabiamila. Last week, they made an attempt to amend the House Rules to take the voting pattern back to a secret ballot.”

There was a drama on the floor of the House on May 17, 2023, as members bickered over the adjournment of the plenary for the induction ceremony for members-elect of the National Assembly.

The two-week induction ceremony, which ended last week, was to expose newly elected and reelected members of the coming 10th National Assembly to legislative procedures. The first batch had their sessions last week, while the second batch is being trained this week.

The last time the House held a session before the two-week ritual was May 4.

As the House resumed plenary on Wednesday last week, a returning member, Ibrahim Isiaka, raised a point of order, citing Order 6 Rules 1 and 2 of the House bothering on the privileges of members.

Isiaka said, “My point of order is that today, as we speak, an induction programme is ongoing at the International Conference Centre, which I am privileged, together with other members, to be part of Batch B.

“Last week, because of this same programme, the House…the plenary was not in session. But today, because of the plenary, I have to be here while this programme is ongoing, and I cannot be properly accommodated at the induction ground. That is why I am coming under the matter of privilege, Order 6(1), (2) and (3).

“My prayer is that the House adjourns to allow us that are participating this week to end the programme, while the House reconvenes after the programme. I am sure I am not the only victim of this circumstance. There are other members that I have seen on their faces; that have even equally complained about their privileges being breached by this House.”

However, Wase criticised the suspension of sittings for the induction ceremony.

Wase said, “I respect the view of my distinguished colleague, Hon Isiaka, but I think, Mr Speaker, this institution has a lot of memories. There has never been a time, because of induction, the House suspends plenary. And I don’t know the rate of those who are now back to the House, compared to the people who are now not returning, that we have to adjourn the House because of induction.

“I think there are many issues in the country that we need to face and tackle. We are running out. Mr Speaker, we have today and tomorrow for the week; we have lost yesterday. I want to beg my brother to reconsider his stand. It is a privilege and I believe it should not…and there is nowhere in our rules that says if we are doing induction…the days of sitting in the House are very clearly stated in our House Standing Orders. I want to beg about that, sir.”

Gbajabiamila eventually approved that the House should adjourn sitting for the induction ceremony.

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Food Security: Coalition of CSOs Extol Agric Minister for revolutionizing sector

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The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, COCSON, Friday, hailed the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, over policies driven to boost food security and crash high food prices.

The commendation was made during a press conference held in Abuja, where the spokesman, COCSON, Adebayo Oluwaseun, on behalf of the Coalition acknowledged and appreciated the Minister while noting that the leadership he has demonstrated since his appointment had impacted positively on the agricultural sector as he is currently revolutionizing the industry and ensuring Nigeria and Nigerians are food secure.

According to Oluwaseun, the Minister has been committed to the implementation of the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan, NATIP, which has been instrumental in modernizing the agricultural space, whereby there have been technological advancements and empowerment of smallholder farmers across the country.

He said: “It is with great pride and a profound sense of optimism that we, the members of COCSON, gather here today to applaud the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, for his exceptional leadership and the transformative impact he has had on the agricultural landscape of our beloved country, Nigeria.

“Since his appointment, Minister Abubakar has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to driving positive change, implementing bold initiatives, and positioning the agricultural sector as a key driver of economic growth and sustainable development in Nigeria.”

According to COCSON, the Minister has empowered women and youth in the agricultural sector, including initiatives to provide specialized capacity building and access to financing, and giving opportunities to underrepresented groups, enabling them to become active contributors to the sector’s growth and development.

“The Minister’s unwavering support for women and youth in agriculture has been truly transformative. By investing in their skills, knowledge, and entrepreneurial spirit, he has not only empowered these crucial demographics but also paved the way for a more inclusive and sustainable agricultural ecosystem in Nigeria.

“The coalition is confident that under your stewardship, the sector will continue to thrive, contributing to the country’s food security, economic prosperity, and sustainable development.

“Kyari’s dedication, innovation, and tireless efforts have truly set a new standard for agricultural leadership in Nigeria. We, the members of COCSON, pledge our unwavering support and commitment to working alongside the Minister to further strengthen the agricultural sector and realize our collective vision of a prosperous, food-secure, and environmentally sustainable Nigeria”, he added.

Meanwhile, the Secretary, COCSON, Fatima Usman, “Under Minister Abubakar’s leadership, the NATIP has been a game-changer, revolutionizing the way we approach agriculture in Nigeria.

“Through this innovative plan, we have witnessed a remarkable increase in crop yields, improved access to cutting-edge farming techniques, and the creation of numerous job opportunities for our youth in the agricultural value chain.”

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EFCC’s ‘Slouchy Utterances’ Against Bello: MPPR Condemns Agency’s Bias, Calls for Fair Play

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….Says chairman should tell Nigerians why he wants Bello to follow the back door to see him?

Leadership of the Movement for the Protection of People’s Rights MPPR on Friday, disclosed that slouchy statements from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Boss, Mr. Ola Olukoyede on the person of Yahaya Bello has continued to show that the chances of justice for the latter are very slim.

In a statement jointly signed by Comrade Musa Abdullahi, the Secretary General and Comrade Abiola Adegbite, Dir, Media & Publicity, the group warned the anti-graft agency boss to quit looking for ways to bring in Yahaya Bello via backdoor.

It read: “Since the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) in 2002, its activities have elicited both support and suspicion in the fight to tackle graft cases in Nigeria. Patriotic citizens from all walks of life have consistently stood by the EFCC in the difficult mandate given to it through an Act of the National Assembly.

“Going through the recent press statement issued by the EFCC in which it has accused an imaginary named former Governor and two ex- ministers of spearheading a planned protest against the Commission is not only baseless, absurd but also cowardly. The story credited to the EFCC giving credence to some faceless 259 civil society organisations under the aegis of nonexistent Coalition for Transparency is a disgrace carried too far in the anti- graft war in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

“With the story credited to the EFCC, one would think that the Commission was deliberately fashioned for lies, gross mischief, and drain pipe purpose – a channel of deception and castration of Nigeria’s puberty. From all indications, the groups being celebrated by the EFCC are either the creation of the Commission or the agency cash and carry, non existent nor unregistered NGOs/ CSOs arrangement and hatchet jobbers with them on retainership basis. Not long ago, one of such beneficiaries wrote a petition to the National Judicial Council,( NJC) against a Judge handling the case between the EFCC and a former Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello. Sadly, the author of the said petition to the NJC was once arrested and charged to court by the Nigeria Police for mischief, falsehood, and frivolous claims against a former Attorney-General of the Federation. What a shame and a coincidence for the EFCC- to be hobnobbing with such a disgruntled and malicious character parading himself as an activist.Has the EFCC forgotten the ethos of crime101 of profiling and carrying out due diligence of any of its friends before association?

“Rather than remain a vile witness of dishonour, false alarms, arbitrariness and politicization of the anti- graft war, we must posit that the era of fighting the anti-corruption war with disobedience to court orders, selective prosecution, intimidation, gestapo like arrests, defamation of character and blackmail are gone forever with the wind. The Commission should rather concentrate its energy on the investigation of N23 billion Kano- Maiduguri abandoned rail line contract, the CCTV contract scam awarded for Lagos and Abuja worth over USD100 million, monies in billions spent by NDDC, the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry’s mind boggling “N729 billion” fraud, among others and also during the COVID-19 lock down.

“Consequently, they also have an obligation to identify the Nigerian government officials who have been collecting bribes and perpetuating money laundering through Bitcoins platforms since 2016. But they all left these serious state matters in the coolers to go after a politically assumed enemy and a juggernaut who has become a rallying point for the youths in Nigeria and a formidable ally of Mr President. These are all in a bid, to please their monstrous paymasters and retain the office of the Chairman of the EFCC. How long will Olukayode be using unethical methods and gestapo like arrests and movements to persecute and hound Yahaya Bello in order to please his self-serving ambition and cohorts

“Nigeria is a country founded on constitutional democracy, anchored on the rule of law and due process. Therefore, we challenge the EFCC to disclose the identity of the ex-Governor and two former ministers spearheading the concocted protest against the EFCC, including the venue and time where the meeting took place. They must furnish Nigerians with details of the attendance list of the meeting and the money earmarked for the imaginary and phantom protest as alleged! How can the Commission stoop so low to embark on the dissemination of such hearsay, falsehood, orchestrated plots, red imaginary shadows, misrepresentation and innuendos without due process and the rule of law? The EFCC has become the accuser, prosecutor, and judge in its own case. What a misnomer?

“We must state categorically, to those who are either ignorant of the law establishing the agency or trying to display some affinity with the arrogance of the EFCC to note the motive behind the creation of the Commission wasn’t meant for the abuse of prosecutorial powers or usurp political authority. This presupposes that the Commission and its agents must act in accordance with the constitution and civil conduct in the discharge of their duties in consonance with the rule of law and civility in all its obligations to the citizenry, but the reverse is now the case under the present leadership.

“We wish to ask the EFCC some salient questions relevant to the handling of their case against Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello. Why are they shopping for a pliable judge to handle their persecution of Bello? Contrary to the standing operational procedure? Why did the Chairman place a call directly to Bello and want him to follow the back door if there is no hidden agenda? What was the motive behind the Chairman’s placement of direct call to Bello? Why was he interested in ushering him via the Chairman’s special entrance gate and exclusive door? A back door arrangement that Bello rejected outright till date has become his being hounded regrettably!

“This brings us to the shadow boxing placement of Bello on the watch list of Interpol. The apt description of the action of the EFCC in this regard can be described as ultravires, premeditated, teleguided, and an agenda for settling scores, having an axe to grind

“It is a big shame, ridiculous and embarrassing for obvious reasons, the EFCC is granting interviews and issuing statements in a clearer attempt to ambush and preempt judicial officers handling their case against Bello who are already in various courts of competent jurisdiction. What a shameless act by the agency!

“The EFCC must desist from further overheating the polity, from undemocratic and unconstitutional practices in the handling of this case and others. The era of plotting shenanigans and suffocating excuses in the fight against graft is over. Therefore, all cases before the courts must be allowed to be exhausted in full and the outcome decided. The anti-graft body must not be seen to probate and reprobate in a desperate bid to crucify any accused persons under investigation or prosecution under its watch. Actions of resorting to self-help, amounts to prejudicial and subjudicial, that are entrenchently intolerable in terms of both legal and moral compliance.

“Only an institution that has abandoned its core mandate would embark on a proxy war, name calling, and grandstanding. Blaming white witches and village people for their incompetence, lack of due diligence, and unprofessional conduct. Wasting taxpayers’ monies on wild goose chase that would lead Nigerians to no where, except the land of voodoo warriors insinuating about planned and sponsored protests against the EFCC

“For the umpteenth time, let us state that the placement of Bello on the watch list, which is already before the court, is mischievous, self-serving, arbitrarily obnoxious and devoid of fairness.
It is on this ground that we are urging the Chairman of the EFCC to resign from office forthwith due to his inability to discharge his mandate without fear, favour, and biases.

“Let us make it abundantly clear that natural justice is anchored in the will of Almighty God taught to mankind. The EFCC should always act with fear of God devoid of sentiments and preferential treatment of requesting suspects to see the Chief Prosecutor through his special backdoor. Nigerians are still waiting for explanation on other high suspects granted such merited or unmerited favours. The criteria used for the selection process and the fate of those who accepted and others who rejected such private gestures! The Nigerian people are interested in the overall outcome of what transpired during both day and night visits through the Chairman’s exclusive door!

“Finally, the desperate agenda to crucify Bello amounts to giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it. The constant review of human regulations and laws is evidence of civility, as Edmund Burke aptly captures it plainly when he said, “Bad laws are worst sort of tyranny.”

“The EFCC has goofed once again and should explain to Nigerians the extant rule of the exclusive backdoor passage, which Yahaya Bello declined and rejected.

“We therefore call on the International Community, Donor Agencies and Partners to dispassionately read in between the lines in terms of the backdoor arrangement/exclusivity offered by the Chairman of EFCC to Bello and the glaring double – standards and inconsistencies in the handling of the anti-graft war as it relates to politically exposed persons in Nigeria!

“With the above, the Chairman of EFCC has no moral right to stay a day longer in office as the Chairman of the agency!”

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Lawmakers’/Stakeholders Support Creation of Anioma State , Senator Nwoko Reveals

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Senator representing Delta North, Ned Nwoko has revealed massive support from Delta, South East Senators and other stakeholders for the creation of Anioma state

 

He said the creation of the long sought Anioma State will correct perceived marginalisation of south east geo-political zone.

It will be recalled that a bill to create Anioma state had passed first reading in the Senate on July 2.

Speaking in an interview in Abuja on Wednesday, the sponsor of the bill, Nwoko said the bill seeks to alter provisions of 1999 Constitution (as amended) to create Anioma state.

Senator Nwoko said the south-east geopolitical zone currently has five states, unlike its counterparts, which have six each, except for the North- West, which has seven states.

Revealing that the creation of Anioma state has received wide support from major stakeholders, Nwoko said the two other senators from Delta state, Ede Dafinone (Delta Central and Joel-Onowakpo Thomas (Delta South) support the creation of the state. For me, that is a big support.

“I have gotten support from most of the senators from the south east as well and I know that I will get support from across the country.

“The Izu Anioma, which is the umbrella group of all Aniomas are saying we want it, the Ikpe Anioma says we want it.”

Nwoko dismissed report by a group alleging that he did not consult wildly before presenting the bill for creation of Anioma state for first reading.

He said the call for creation of Anioma state was timely and has to happen for various reasons, adding that the eventual creation will address years of concerns, challenges of Ndigbo in Nigeria.

“The most important one is that there is the urgent need to address the injustice, the years of crying of marginalisation by Ndigbo generally.

“It is a huge population in Nigeria, but they only have five states, and so, it will make six states of Ndigbo.

“It is a very long fight, for the quest for Anioma has taken 50 years from the time of Dennis Osadebe.

“There may not be many states created in Nigeria under this dispensation, but certainly, there is an urgent need to create one to address the imbalance.

“It is hoped that when it is done it will assuage the cries of the Igbos because since after the war there has been so many cries of been marginalised of injustice.

“So it is only equitable that it is done because it will deal with the crisis, the killings the violence, the seat at home issues among other issues.”

He said there was the need to bring a lasting solution to issues in the region. “We are looking at finding the solution to crisis, you don’t create a state for the fun of it, no, you create a state to address a particular issue of concern”.

He said Nigeria now has a president who is determined to right wrongs of the past, because it is important to do so and “the government want to solve the problem of the south east”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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