Coalition of Northern Patriotic Front, South West Professionals, Coalition of Arewa Youth Groups have turned around to fault their earlier press briefing which asked the current spokesman of the House of Representative Benjamin Kalu to shelve his ambition to contest for speaker of the House of Representatives
In a twist of event the group said they were misled with false information to justify the plot against Benjamin Kalu.
Addressing a Press Conference in Abuja on Friday the group said,
“Some of the issues raised by this Coalition yesterday were obvious attack on the personality of the Spokesperson of the House of Representatives and member representing Bende Federal Constituency, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, who expressed his interest to run for the position of the Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives
In a bid to misinform the general public and cast aspersions on the Integrity of the Honourable member who has so far remained an impeccable image maker of the 9th Assembly the coalition said they were misled to ask him to step down from the race for Speakership of the House of Representatives for allegely lacking in requisite qualities to lead the green chambers.
At a press conference earlier in Abuja on Thursday the President of Arewa Youths Tijjani Abdulmumuni who spoke on behalf of the Coalition demanded from the lawmaker to tell Nigerians his role in the presidential election that took place in the South -east to warrant his party’s leadership to entrust such sensitive position to him.
The group said, the candidate that will possibly emerge speaker from the South East region is as much an issue of interest to the country and the APC as it is to the South-east.
“Therefore, the likes of Benjamin Kalu who obviously do not possess the prerequisite qualities to man the House should burry their ambitions of becoming speaker and be patient to learn the ropes and allow themselves to be groomed.
“He must learn from the process that brought Hon Gbajabiamila in.
“This press conference is called to raise concern on certain issues concerning the leadership of this country, perhaps where we might find ourselves again if we failed to speak up when it’s necessary. It’s not about who gets what or takes what; it’s about the interest of the country.
“We have heard recently how some groups have also lended their voices and even advised the President-elect, on how the leadership of the National Assembly should be constituted.
“We have observed that the contest for the Leadership of the 10th National Assembly, of which the APC is in firm control, has become, for some a theatre to display their naivety.
“As experienced political players and stakeholders, we are all aware that the National Assembly is the ‘engine room’ of the success of any government, not that alone, we must be reminded that the growth of our democracy owned much to the quality of leadership we produce in our parliament, especially at National Assembly.
“A party that fails to get the leadership of the National Assembly right, may not witness major development.
“The 8th Assembly is a classical example, where President Muhammadu Buhari-led government could not do much because of the emergence of rebellious group within the APC who worked at cross purpose against the policies of the ruling party throughout their stint. This alone cost the government and indeed the country a huge setback.
“The elections have come and gone and we observed that those who sold the party to the opposition, especially in the South East where it’s now rumoured that the next Speaker may emerge from, are the same people whose voices have been so loud in the race to take over the leadership in House.
But in a twist the chairman of the coalition, Ali Abacha while addressing the media on Friday said,
“Gentlemen of the Press, recall that we addressed you here yesterday, the same venue on the leadership challenge preparatory to the election of the National Assembly leadership.
“We are here this morning again to set the record straight and also to correct some of the statements we issued. As a Civil Society Organization, we remain non-partisan and we should be seen to be so, not to allow ourselves to be dragged into politics of sentiments
“Our attention has been drawn to the press briefing by those that should know better, that forces from Abia state working with highly placed politicians in the State are back in the trenches to paint Hon. Benjamin Kalu, a member representing Bende Federal Constituency, black ahead of the contest.
“If Hon. Benjamin Kalu truly sold the party in the Southeast, he would probably not be the only surviving House of Reps member from APC in the entire Abia State with eight Federal Constituencies.
“His victory is a testament of his hard work to project his party in his State and Region. If Hon. Benjamin Kalu truly sold the party out in the Southeast, as been alleged how come he was the only one whose office was attacked with over 100 bullets destroying properties with so many lives put at risk in the incident?
“How come he was the only member whose life was threatened by hired assassins who were sent to silence him for projecting the APC Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“If these allegations by his traducers are to be taken seriously, how come he was the only one who campaigned publicly for his party APC in Abia State, also being one of the leaders to join in receiving the Presidential Candidate of the Party during his visit to his State?
“Our findings have also revealed that the Leader who joined the Abia APC Gubernatorial Candidate in his Campaign rallies while some of the Leaders who want to lead the 10th National Assembly publicly supported other political parties.
“This remains an unfounded allegation against the aspiration of Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu by desperate politicians who lack any moral standing to occupy any leadership position in our nation. “On the issue of expirience that we raised earlier, circumstantial evidence before us after the briefing shows that We were grossly misled.
Hon. Kalu from records, stands tops amongst them all as he was already in the House when most candidates from the Southeast rejoined the Assembly after their victory in court.
“He was already holding the Chairmanship position of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs and the Spokesperson of the House before they came on board.
Hon. Kalu has sponsored one of the highest number of bills among the new members of the House with about 43 bills amongst which 2 or 3 have gotten the Presidential assent while others have progressed from one level of legislative attention to other.
“Outside the parliament, the public sector experience of Hon. Benjamin Kalu becomes resourceful having been a Local Government Chairman and a two-time member of the State Executive Council in Abia State. “His knowledge of the law and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a practicing Lawyer as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria should also be recognized, a qualification that has played a role in molding conversations around law making in the House.
Tinubu asks Senate to endorse $8.6bn, €100m loans approved by Buhari’s govt
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has asked the Senate to give him the authorization to borrow $8,699,168,559 and €100 million to carryout critical projects across the country.
The president’s request was contained in a letter read at the commencement of plenary on Tuesday by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.
Tinubu, in the letter, explained that the request was part of the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He said the projects to be funded with the loan cuts across different sectors of the economy, and were selected based on economic evaluation and the expected contribution to the country’s development.
The letter reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the federal executive council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023.
“The projects cut across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.
“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”
Niger Coup: Northern Senators ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic
***Plead with Tinubu to restore electricity supply to Niger
The Northern Senators Forum on Monday called on President Bola Tinubu to as a matter of Urgency use his position as Chairman of ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community
They also demanded that Nigeria restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
The senators had in July on the heels of the military forceful take over of the democratically elected government in Niger, cautioned President Tinubu against use of Military power towards tackling the military coup, as they called for diplomatic options.
A communique issued at the end of their emergency meeting which was read by the chairman of the forum, Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauch Central) stated, “The forum on very strong terms condemn the spate of Military intervention in the democratic spaces in the West African subregion.
“The Northern Senators Forum in particular condemns the coup in Niger and urged the military junta in Niger to soften the relationship with the rest of ECOWAS military by setting free President Muhammed Bazoum and his immediate family to freely choose a country of his choice for asylum
They further urged the junta in Niger to bring about a transition time table that will last not more than two years.
They ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community.
“It is important that Nigeriens should not suffer because of the coup that took place just like we have seen what is happening in Gaza
“We ask the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Commander in chief of the Armed forces and of course the chairman of ECOWAS, President Muhammed Bola Tinubu to as a matter of humanitarian gesture restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
Ningi called on Nigerians and Nigerien to remember that they remain brothers, partners and Africans and above all, we remain human beings
Senate okays 2024-2026 MTEF, FSP as it seeks to probe Tax Waivers from 2015 Till Date
The Senate has approved the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Frame Work (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The upper legislative chamber also ordered an investigation into all tax waivers from 2015 till date and directed that all waivers not directly linked to non-governmental/non-profit organizations should not be granted.
The Senate observed that before waiver can be approved, there are certain conditions attached, adding that some people have been benefitting from the waiver year in, year out.
Addressing newsmen, shortly after the plenary, the Chairman of the Joint Senate Committees on Finance, Appropriations, National Planning and Foreign Debt, Senator Sani Musa, lamented that so much have been lost to the waiver.
He said: “We can not continue to talk of waiver while we kill our local manufacturers.
What we have today are catels, who are not given back to Nigeria. We will take the bull by the horn.”
He said that the customer told the Senate that the nation lost about N1.3 trillion to waiver, adding that it doesn’t make any economy sense, when waiver is granted, and nothing is gained.
In the report of the Senate Joint Committees, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will borrow N7.8 trillion to fund the 2024 budget of N26 trillion that will be presented to the National Assembly soon.
In the budget, N8.2 trillion is earmarked for debt services.
In the report presented for consideration on the floor of the Senate, Sani Musa revealed that the federal government projected the reduction in inflation from 27.33 % to 21.4% in 2024.
“The total budget for the 2024 will be N26 trillion with N16.9 trillion in retained revenue, N243.6 billion for the sinking fund, the statutory transfer for the budget will be N1.3 trillion, N1.2 trillion. In pension gratuity and retirees benefits.
“The total recurrent (non-debt) of N10.2 trillion, personal cost of MDAs- N4.49 trillion, capital expenditure (exclusive of transfers ) -N5.9 trillion, special Intervention (recurrent)- N200 billion and special Intervention capital -N7 billion comprise the.aggregate of Federal government expenditure of N26 trillion,” the report said.
The report further reads: “Following the criteria in the overview of the framework for revenues and expenses, which forms the basis of the 2024 FGN budget FGN proposed spending N26 trillion, of which N16.9 trillion was retained, new borrowings of N7.8 trillion (including borrowing from foreign and domestic), debt service to revenue ratio of 49%, pension, gratuities, and retiree benefits of N12 trillion, and a fiscal deficit of N9 trillion (including GOES)
“The projected N16.96 trillion revenues to the federal government for the 2024 fiscal year is attainable with effective revenue monitoring exercise and oversight by the relevant Committees of the National Assembly
“The projected fiscal deficit of N9.048 trillion, N10.02 and N11.48 proposed for the 2024, 2025 and 2026 fiscal years are 22%, 13.6% and 1% lower than the N11 6 trillion fiscal deficit for the year 2023. The proposed strategy for the government in 2024 towards deficit financing is to increase funding from privatization proceeds and foreign borrowing and reduce funding from multilateral and bilateral project- tied loans and domestic borrowing
“The Federal Government’s commitments to progressively restructure its debt portfolio towards achieving a balanced domestic-to-external debt ratio is evident in the 2024-2026 MTEF and FSP
“A significant number of the Federal Government’s Revenue- Generating Agencies engaged in arbitrary, frivolous, and extra-budgetary expenditure.”
The oil bemcark is pegged at $73.6 per barrel with daily production of 1.78 million barrel per day with an exchange rate of N700 to $1 .
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