President Buhari has asked the National Assembly to review the direct primaries clause and send document back for his assent.
The President who has communicated to the National Assembly, asked the National Assembly to remove the controversial clause on direct primaries from the bill and return the proposed law to him for assent.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed that Buhari had sent the letter to the National Assembly.
According to our sources the President indicated in the letter to the Senate President Ahmad Lawan that the prevailing situation in the country will not allow to him sign the bill.
Amongst other reasons the President cited high cost of conducting direct primaries, the security challenge of monitoring the election, violation of citizens rights, marginalization of small political parties.
Buhari also notes that adopting direct primaries also has implications on the rights of citizens to participate in the government, as constitutionally insured.
According to the President, the conduct of direct primaries will lead to a significant spike in the cost of conducting primary elections by parties, as well as the increase in the cost of monitoring such elections by INEC.
He explained that the direct consequences of the high cost are monitozation and that it will drive and increase the financial crimes and constitute further strain on the economy.
In his view, it will also stifle smaller parties without the enormous resources required to mobilize all party members for the primaries, a situation which he says is not healthy for the sustainance of multiparty democracy in Nigeria.
The President further states that security agencies will also be overstretched, as direct primaries will be open to participation from all and sundry. Such large turnout without effective security coordination, will also engender intimidation and disruptions, thereby raising credibility issues on the outcomes of such election.
Significantly, Buhari said: “The amendment as proposed is the violation of the underlying spirit of democracy, which is characterized by freedom of choices of which political party membership is a voluntary exercise of the constitutional right of freedom of association.
President Buhari also said the proposed amendment might also give rise to a plethora of litigations based on diverse grounds and issues of law, including but not limited to the fact that the proposed amendment could not work in retrospect, given that the existing constitution of the parties already registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) permits direct, indirect and consensus primaries. Buhari said his decision is based on informed advise by relevant ministries, departments and agencies of the government, and careful review of the bill in light of the current realities prevalent in the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the circumstances.
He accused governors of the APC and their National Assembly members of deceiving Nigerians that they were engaged in a battle of supremacy over the issue of direct primaries, whereas they had secretly agreed to scuttle the possibility of transmitting election results electronically in 2023.
Wike said the National Assembly did not have what it takes to veto the President’s refusal to assent to the bill.
According to him, the lawmakers are not interested in protecting the interest of Nigerians and ensuring that elections are free and fair with the electronic transmission of results.
“Unfortunately, you don’t have a National Assembly that has what it takes, that will stand for the people, that will say look we were elected by the people and we want to give the people the best. Nobody in the National Assembly, not even the leadership, can have what it takes to say Mr President for the interest of Nigerians, we are going to veto your refusal,” he said.
The governor maintained that because the APC did not take the interest of Nigerians as a priority, its leaders were immersed in crisis while jostling for benefits that fan their personal egos.
N’Assembly won’t override Buhari on bill, says Kwankwaso
A former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, says the President will not sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill because governors have pressured him not to approve the provision for direct primaries.
Kwankwaso said this during a chat with The PUNCH ahead of the National Assembly’s recess.
The former governor said indeed, mandatory direct primaries would provide a level playing field and ensure that popular candidates emerge.
He, however, said because such mandatory primaries could make governors less powerful, they would not support it.
The ex-lawmaker said, “In 1999, I was elected as the candidate of the PDP through direct primary but along the line, we realised that there were issues with the direct primary. It is very cumbersome; it has some weaknesses here and there, but after practising the indirect primary, I can easily compare and say the direct one is more democratic and better than the indirect.
“But one thing that I believe is that the governors and other powerful people will never want to approve the direct primary because the power will get out of the government houses and land in the hands of the voters and members of the parties. So, they will never want it. For me, I find it extremely difficult to see how the President will sign it.”
When contacted on Monday to confirm if Buhari had communicated his decision to the National Assembly, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, said, “I am not aware.”
His counterpart in the House, Benjamin Kalu, however, said the chamber would take a decision on it today (Tuesday).
National Assembly leaders in emergency meeting, strategise response to President
One of the principal officers of the House, who also confirmed the communication to one of our correspondents Monday night, disclosed that the leadership of the National Assembly held an emergency meeting after it was received.
The lawmaker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, spoke to our correspondent at about 10:30pm.
“We are currently at holding a leadership meeting over the communication. I won’t be able to say much on the development right now,” he said.
Culled from The Punch
Senate Presidency: Yari, Tambuwal, others shut out in Senate new rule that bars first-timers
***CSOs ask non ranking senators to move against amendments in court
Not up to two weeks after the 10th Senate suffered an impeachment scare, the Senate on Tuesday amended its standing rule and barred first term members from seeking to be elected as president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate.
Adopting a motion sponsored by senate majority leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, the senate amended section three of its standing rule and specifically stated that to vie for the position of president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate, a senator must have spent one term or four years in the upper legislative chamber.
With the new amendment to the standing orders of the Senate, first term senators are now prohibited from contesting for the position of presiding officers of the Red Chambers.
Bamidele’s motion was titled: “Amendment of the Standing Orders of the Senate pursuant to Order 109 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (As Amended).”
Rule 3 of the Senate Standing Orders as amended now stipulates that any senator wishing to contest for the position of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President must have spent a minimum of one term in the senate.
But the 1999 constitution as amended in its section 50(1) simply provided that “there shall be a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves”
The Senate also amended its rules and created additional nine Standing Committees, bringing the number of Senate committees to 83 from its previous 74.
It would be recalled that last June, the former Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, got the second highest votes of 46 against Godswill Akpabio’s 63 votes
The contest was the fiercest in the history of the election of President of the Senate.
Three weeks ago, the office of the Senate president raised an alarm about an alleged plot to remove Akpabio from the office.
The uproar generated by that alarm forced the Northern Senators Forum to condemn what they called an attempt by Akpabio to pitch Senators against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Meanwhile, criticisms have started gathering against the amendment as many believe that the discrimination introduced has no place in the constitution.
“Although the constitution gave power to the senate to regulate it, such regulations or rules .ust not be in breach of the Constitution” a lawmaker.
Reacting to the amendment, the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) said:
“The amendments are unconstitutional and ultra vires because section 42(1) of the Constitution states clearly that policies of government ought not to be made in such a way that a certain category of citizens will be disabled from participating or benefitting therefrom.”
In a statement by its president, comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said that “the idea of allowing only ranking members to be qualified to contest for offices within the Senate’s hierarchy is impracticable in Nigeria where the turn-over rate of legislators into the national assembly is not as robustly sustainable as the Americans or British experience about their parliamentarians.
“In Nigeria, virtually 40 to 45 percent of Senators don’t get reelected. Supposing those who get re-elected lack charisma and leadership qualities, will the Senate be led by never-do-wells? This law is an attempt to muzzle opposition to the decadent leadership of Sebator Akpabio leadership that is made up of stooges of the executive arm of government. We in the HURIWA are asking those senators so affected negatively from these destructive amendments to file litigation to get the amendments quashed because the amendments are self-serving, lack progressive ideals and are very primitive and unconstitutional”
Deputy Speaker, Kalu, says, Reps working to promote SMEs through bills, policies
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has disclosed that the Parliament is working on a number of bills to effectively promote small-scale and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
He also said that Nigeria under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has already witnessed a series of transformative reforms aimed at repositioning the nation on the
path to sustained economic growth.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Levinus Nwabughiogu quoted Kalu to have made the disclosure at the ground breaking ceremony of the Abia Innovation Industrial Park in Owaza, Ukwa West Local Government Area of the State on Saturday where he joined Governor Alex Otti to perform the ritual.
Initiated by the Abia State Government under the leadership of Otti, the project is expected to foster economic growth, create jobs, and position Abia State as a hub for innovation and industrialization when completed.
He said: “The 10th National Assembly, under the dynamic leadership of the Speaker and myself as Deputy Speaker, has been working tirelessly to complement these reforms with legislative actions that
support economic growth and development.
“7We understand that a
conducive legislative framework is critical to the success of initiatives such
as the Abia Innovation Industrial Park.
“Our legislative agenda is centered around creating an environment that
encourages innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development.
“We are actively working on bills and policies aimed at promoting small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enhancing ease of doing business, and
attracting both local and foreign investments.
“It is not just the Abia State Government that is at work here. We are
fortunate to find ourselves in an era of remarkable leadership at the federal
level. Under the Bola Ahmed Tinubu presidency, Nigeria has witnessed a
series of transformative reforms aimed at repositioning our nation on the
path to sustained economic growth. “
Kalu further said that the industrialization of Abia State is not only a dream but also a well-thought-out strategy, stressing that it aligns perfectly with the broader national goals of achieving self-sufficiency and economic prosperity.
“This groundbreaking ceremony not only marks the beginning of a new industrial park but also symbolizes our unwavering
commitment to honoring the giants of our past while forging ahead into a
“This is the beginning of a new era. An era where innovation, industry, and
opportunity will flourish. An era where the dreams and aspirations of our youth and entrepreneurs will find a home and where Abia State will shine as a beacon of progress in our great nation, ” Kalu said.
Senator Jibrin Echocho celebrates with Nigerians at 63
Senator Isah Jibrin ( APC Kogi East), has rejoiced with Nigerians on the occasion of 63rd Independence anniversary of the country.
In a statement he personally signed in Abuja on Saturday, the senator urged Nigerians to remain steadfast in their believe in building a strong, united and prosperous country.
“Let us be driven forward by our zeal to strengthen our diversity, culture and beliefs as we remain one nation bound in freedom.
“To my dear constituents, I want to assure you that I will continue to be your voice in the Senate, fighting for your rights and interests with integrity and dedication.
“May this Independence day anniversary bring further positive turnaround, unimaginable fortune, unity of purpose, and breakthrough for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Once again, I felicitate with all the good people of Kogi East, Kogi State, Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, and wish you all the merits of democracy”.
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