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Speakership: Kalu insists that Party’s Supremacy should not be trampled upon over political interests



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☆☆☆ Seeks South East Members-elect support for the Joint Ticket

The Deputy Speakership candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 10th National Assembly, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has called on his colleagues, particularly aspirants for the speakership seat of the House to place the supremacy of the party above any other political interest.

Kalu stated this on Monday while addressing representatives of Coalition of Abia Stakeholders under the aegis of Advocacy for Good Governance Initiative who paid him a courtesy visit at the Campaign Sacretariat of the Joint Task – 10th Assembly Coalition in Abuja.

Kalu who currently chairs the 9th House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs also called on members-elect from the South East zone to rally support for the Abbas/Kalu joint ticket, adding that it is a team that is anchored on the diversity and multiplicity of interest in Nigeria.

He noted that having provided the political vehicle that conveyed all winners of electoral offices to their desired destinations, the party’s position should be respected by all as a mark of honour and loyalty to the party.

“I’m a man who believes that the party’s supremacy should not be jettisoned for our political interests. The party provided the vehicle for us to get to where we are, and their decision should be binding on us.

“That’s the only way we are going to make our party stronger, that’s the only way we are going to make people respect our party. Because our victories came through the party.”
Kalu also assured his visitors that if given the mandate to preside, the House under Hon. Abbas and himself will sustain the current tripartite approach to governance adopted by the outgoing administration.
He added that the party’s decision to chose him and Abbas was based on the need for competence and maturity in understanding the objectives of the coming administration.
“So the tripartite arrangements established by this current government is going to be sustained by the incoming administration where the party will sit with the Executive and the Legislature to come up with policy directions that will help our nation grow.

“And the House through the partnership and the support I will give to my principal, who is the Speaker, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas by God’s grace, that we will be able to buy into the national objective. It’s not wearing a boxing gloves to fight the government. We should understand that this government is our government. Three arms of government with one national this is what we need if we are going to take the nation from where it is to the next level.

“I’m also happy that you are supporting the joint ticket that includes the Speakership candidate, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas. He is a thoroughbred who has the highest number of bills in the House. He will be able to give to the House the kind of maturity in management that the House needs to manage the national objective that I have been preaching about.

“So when it comes to comparative analysis between me and other members from the south East, I rank the highest with 43 bills to my name. And out of those 43 bills, about 2 to 3 of them have been assented to by Mr President. In motions also. I rank the highest in the nation in in terms of bills amongst new members, I also rank the highest in both old and new members from the South East.

“So keep spreading this message not only to people who are within your constituency. Go outside your constituency and speak to people to speak to their representatives because we may not be able to reach all at once even though we will try our best.

Kalu who assured that the 10th House will ensure the independence of the parliament whilst cooperating with the executive, noted that having all political parties represented in the Joint Task coalition was to cross fertilize ideas that represent the yearnings of Nigeria’s diversity, just as it will have at the core of its priority the national objective which includes equality and cohesion.

“”So we believe that by the time we meet together, we can push for the independence of the parliament, what I call the parliamentary independence. And one of the things that we believe in also is the balancing of inequality. This is what the Joint Task stands for. We believe that building the nation, it doesn’t take one, it takes all. So all hands must be on deck and we must look at the existing inequalities and find a way of balancing these inequalities.

“And doing that is very important because it will encourage national loyalty and cohesion in the heart of all the people from different geopolitical zones of the country which is the unity that we profess in our coat of arms which is ‘Unity, Peace and Progress’. So we want what will help us srentghten that unity so that we can progress as a nation in an atmosphere of peace. So in the spirit of section 14 of the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria on Character, the balancing of positions around the country was what my party considered, and not because I’m not qualified to be the speaker.

“Thank you for coming all the way from Abia State to tell me that as one of your brothers, you are backing me and it’s very important that the support is coming from home and it’s growing,” Kalu said.

Speaking earlier, the Convener of the Coalition, Mr Dike Uche told the Deputy Speakership candidate that they were at the Joint Task Secretariat to pay a courtesy visit on the outgoing House Spokesman after a citywide rally they held in support of his campaign.

“We came to do a courtesy visit as a fallout of a rally we just held in front of the National Assembly and other strategic places in Abuja. The rally was attended by over 200 groups from Abia and at the end of the rally, we now selected a representative from each of the groups to come and pay you a courtesy visit and to reemphasize our confidence in you the Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, whom we had desired that you would become the Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives.

“That was the position we had been canvassing then, but because the party had zeroed down its zoning and said that you will become deputy Speaker, even though it’s against our wish and which we would have insisted, but having listened to you in the media accepting the party’s decision to become the deputy Speaker, so we also now understand that between Speaker and deputy is a joint ticket.

“And we also feel that the new government that’s to be inaugurated on May 29 will not function effectively without proper representation from the South East. And that has been our position, because we all know that Nigeria is built on a tripod. And that tripod if you remove one of the legs, cannot stand on just two. Irrespective of whatever the outcome of the election was, we feel that there should be inclusiveness. And we saw in you our dear Benjamin Okezie Kalu as someone who has all the qualities to be Speaker. Because you must have the quality of a Speaker before you can even become a deputy Speaker.

“We are proud of you and we have been following your strides over the years, even the constituency projects you attracted to Bende Federal Constituency.
“Now we want to tell you that you are not going be just a representative from Bende Federal Constituency, but a representative of the entire South East, because you are going there to protect the interest of the South East. Both the women, the elderly and even we who are in the political class as stakeholders.
We will continue this agitation until June the 13th when we are sure that this project is actualized and that is just the first leg of it.

We will continue to press on it, we have granted interviews encouraging the new members-elect that you should be returned unopposed. You Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu should be returned unopposed as the candidate for the deputy Speakership post of the 10th Assembly,” Mr. Uche said on behalf of the coalition.

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Senate Presidency: Yari, Tambuwal, others shut out in Senate new rule that bars first-timers




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***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”

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Deputy Speaker, Kalu, says, Reps working to promote SMEs through bills, policies




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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
brighter future.

“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.

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Senator Jibrin Echocho celebrates with Nigerians at 63




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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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