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10th NASS: Joint Task Group tackles G7, says they pose no threat



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***Insists it will deliver Abbas, Kalu as Speaker, Deputy

The delivery of Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively, will have a smooth sail on the day of inauguration on June 13, 2023, the Joint Task Coalition of the incoming 10th National Assembly has indicated

The Coalition that is made up of the 8 political parties (APC, PDP, LP, NNPP, APGA, SDP, ADC and YPP) that won various seats in the incoming 10th National Assembly at the just concluded February 25 general elections resolved to work together with a view to implementing the APC zoning arrangement and prevent any form of rebellion within the House against the ruling party and its incoming administration.

Consequently, the group has since backed the nomination of Abbas and Kalu by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as its preferred candidates for the offices, just as it is also seeking to promote cooperation between the legislature and executive, amongst others.

Speaking on behalf of the group on an Arise TV programme titled “This Week” monitored in Abuja, its secretary a returning member-elect from Kano State, Hon. Aliyu Sani Madaki said the members have resolved to give a block vote, adding that the G7, a group of other aggrieved aspirants poses no threat whatsoever to them, saying it would soon fizzle out.

He said: “If you look at it, the Joint Task itself is a kind of gang up. I’m from NNPP, the co-chair (Chinda) is a PDP member, the Chairman is of the APC. A few days back, a greater chunk of the opposition came together and endorsed Abass. I can bet you the 10th Assembly intends to work as a group and on that day, we will work as a group and speak as one.

“By the time we finish this interview, they could become G2 or G1, these are all people I know who are my friends and who are qualified to be Speaker but, we can only have one Speaker at a time. And the best amongst all is Hon. Tajudeen Abbas,” he declared.

Madaki also said that the stepping down of the trio of the outgoing leader of the 9th Assembly, Hon. Ado Doguwa, Hon. Abdulraheem Olawuyi and and Hon. Makki Abubakar Yalleman was a needed boost to their campaign.

The highly outspoken lawmaker added that the country needed the best hand at the national parliament to effectively drive the machinery of governance.

He also revealed that they from the NNPP have the blessings of the party’s leader, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to support Abbas.

“On three contestants stepping down for Tajudeen Abbas, that should not come as a surprise to Nigerians. That’s part of politics and politicking, I believe that’s good for our democracy. We at the Joint Task-10th Assembly Coalition believe that we should have a very robust democracy and rancour free House of Representatives where our main concern, main focus should be the well-being of the Nigerian citizen, and how to do it is to select leaders based on competence, intellect, capacity. We believe if that’s done irrespective of party, we will have an Assembly that Nigerians will be proud of.

“As at now, it’s not about having a working relationship between the APC and the NNPP. It’s about having a National Assembly that will work for Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or whatever differences we have in this country.

“If we don’t have his (Kwankwaso) blessings, you won’t see myself and other members being in the Joint Task.

“For this country to move forward, we have to do away with all these sentiments and pick the best from amongst ourselves. The Joint Task wants to do what’s obtainable everywhere.

“The best practice in democracies is that the party with majority of members in that Assembly is allowed to pick who will be the presiding officers.

“But in allowing the party, we at the Joint Task decided to have certain criteria, and those are: what’s your level of intellect, your contribution to the House? Abass Tajudeen, if you look at his resume, you will see he has brought 74 bills, and 21 of them have been assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari. That’s not a small feat. I have been in the parliament for eight years, I have only one bill to my name, although in the Eighth Assembly, I have the highest number of motions”, he said.

The Secretary of the Joint Task Team however disagreed with those who ascribed unpopularity to the person of Abbas, describing it as an “indictment on them” to say that a lawmaker who sponsored over 74 bills and got 21 of them assented by the President was not known amongst his contemporaries.

Madaki who vouched the credibility, intellectuality and comportment of Abbas, said he remains the most competent to lead the 10th House.

“I beg to disagree, what’s the process of getting your bill assented to? It goes for first, second readings, then public hearing and third reading to get it passed. If you have 21 bills in an Assembly, any member in that Assembly claims not to know that person, that means that member doesn’t go to sittings. That will be a very big indictment on that member. Maybe, his statement is part of politicking.

“He has the comportment to handle issues in the House. I have known him for eight years and I can attest to the fact that he’s somebody who can tolerate a lot of things. He’s willing to listen, he’s total level of comportment is very suitable for a Speaker of House of Representatives.

“Abass was a primary school teacher, a lecturer, was a manager at British-Nigeria Tobacco Company. He’s a member of House of Representatives from 2011 till date. That alone tells you that he must have come to the place with something which makes his constituents elect him three times. Currently, he’s the Chairman Committee on Land Transport and he’s a Ph.D holder and he has 21 bills assented to by Mr. President”, Madaki said.

The lawmaker also denied speculations in many quarters that Abbas was a project of the outgoing House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, as well as APC’s compensatory measure to the contributions of the outgoing Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai.

In his opinion, the aspirant’s lofty ideals, patriotism and qualifications distinguished him from others.

“Why didn’t El-Rufai give it to any other member in Kaduna? They have 16 members from the state, why Tajudeen? Because he felt he has the intellect. To have any bill passed you must have a good working relationship with your colleagues. If members don’t like you, your bills won’t see the light of day. And it’s not true that the zoning is a compensation to El-Rufai. The main person who brought the idea that Tajudeen should contest for Speakership is the vice chairman of his committee not Gbajabiamila. The Speaker was sold into the issue by members especially Tajudeen’s Deputy Chairman. And let me tell you something about the House of Representatives, if you’re Chairman of a committee, your biggest enemy is your Deputy. They don’t see eye-to-eye. So, for Abass because of his character and attitude his Deputy Chairman started this whole thing. He’s a man that will deliver”, Madaki said.

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Senate urges FG to withhold statutory allocation to LGC without elected officials




Moro, Abba Patrick
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The Senate has urged the Federal Government to henceforth withhold statutory allocation to the Local Governments Councils(LGC) without democratically elected leaders
In the last three months of August, September and October the Local Governments received N702.647b out of N1.006 shared for the three tiers of government in the period under review.
The legality or otherwise of the Federal Governmemt’s power to enforce the Senate’s recommendation is left for legal experts to analyse
The Senate’s recommendation came after debate on the Urgent Need to halt the erosion of democracy: the dissolution of elected Councils in Benue State sponsored by Sen. Moro, Abba Patrick (Benne South)
The senate condemned the arbitrary dissolution of democratically elected Local Government Councils in Benue and other states in Nigeria

It also resolved to urge the Federal Government to review the Benue State governor’s dissolution of the elected councils and constitution of caretaker committees and reinstate the elected council executive forthwith.
The upper legislative chamber urged the governor of Benue state to adhere to his oath of office to obey the rule of law and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

While leading the debate Senator Moro he was dismayed by the dissolution of Democratically Elected Councils in Benue State,

According to him, replacing the elected chairmen with Caretaker Committees to is an aberration and alien to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)

Quoting Section (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) he said it guarantees a system of local government by Democratically Elected Councils.

He insisted that it is the Constitutional responsibility of every state to ensure the existence of Local
Government Councils by law.

He indicated that there are subsisting court rulings directing the Governor, the House of Assembly, their agents, privies etc not to tamper with the tenure of the elected Councils

He therefore challenged the Governor/Government of Benue State to first appeale the outstanding judgments which has not been done adding that it is against the grain of the rule of law

Senator Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North) pointed out thatabout 16 states in Nigeria are currently without democratically elected council officials.
He urged the Senate to direct the Finance Minister to stop funding LGS without elected council officials.
Oshiomhole’s suggestion was supported by Senator Ali Ndume.
The senator representing Oyo North, Abdulfatai Buhari indicated that the Electoral Act should be amended to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct local government elections.

The President of the senate Godswill Akpabio also frowned at the establishment of multiple federal agencies but advocated the creation of the National Electoral Commission for Local Government so that governors would no longer have overbearing influence on council polls

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Tinubu asks Senate to endorse $8.6bn, €100m loans approved by Buhari’s govt 




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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.”

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Niger Coup: Northern Senators ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic




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***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

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