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Senator Kadiri asks Tinubu to own up that he signed the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, in error



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An All Progressives Congress ( APC) Chieftain and a senator who represented Kogi East from 1999 to 2003, high Chief Alex Kadiri has asked President Bola Tinubu to own up that he was railroaded into signing the Access to Higher Education act, 2023 in error.

Since the act was signed into Law mixed reactions have continued to trail the Access to Higher Education Act, 2023.
President Bola Tinubu had signed into law a bill that provides interest-free education loans for Nigerians willing to acquire tertiary education in the first week of his administration.

The Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, otherwise known as students loan Act, establishes an Education Loan Fund to help Nigerians fund their higher education, while they pay in instalments two years after completing their participation in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme.

The bill, first introduced in 2016 by Femi Gbajabiamila, the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, was reintroduced in 2019 and received more attention from the National Assembly in November 2022. It was barely a month after the end of an eight-month-long industrial action by the nation’s university workers’ union who had protested poor working conditions, among other demands.

Kadiri who was chairman senate committee on Education at the time he held sway as Kogi East senator said the act can not work under the present day Nigeria setting wondering why President Tinubu signed in such a haste.

He said even in the US the most developed democracy in the world some Lawmakers are still owing student’s loan, they loan they took to pursue their carriers in colleges and universities.
According to him, “The controversy is on the television everyday in the US and that is why Joe Biden said he was going to forgive them the loan, but the courts have now said no, he can’t do that.
“It is good to forgive these loans, and it is bad for those who struggled and have paid. So there are two ways of looking at these things but we have to draw a line in the middle.
“There are some even if you give them another 100years, they will never pay. They can’t pay, they don’t have any job or even if they have a job is all these jobs that can’t put food on their table talk more of repaying a loan.
“What the last national assembly did which some of us advised against because we have gone down this road before, during our time I was chairman of the education committee in the Senate, we had public hearing and killed it and we gave reason.
“If you read my biography, for me to think this is important for me to put it in my biography you should know.
“The idea is good but the timing is wrong. We once had a Students’ Loan Board in this country, we had Education Bank, they are all dead.
“Why did they die because those who collected loan never paid back and that is even when Nigeria was fairly better than it is today. It is easy to carry pen and sign anything into law.
“They rushed Tinubu into signing that thing, Gbajiabismilla was a Speaker in the last Assembly, so he thinks that this is a foot print, it is not. We have worked on it in the past and they are not inventing the wheel.
“We had public hearing in Lagos, Enugu, Portharcourt, Abuja and Kaduna over this Students Loan they are rushing now.
“Remember ASUU said they don’t know what Tinubu signed because they were not involved and they are right, it is not an easy thing that you just rush and get the man to sign because he too is looking for legitimacy, so anything that looks like good he will to sign quickly. But there is more to it. This country must plan.
“Before America set up that thing they had their independence for 150 years. They learnt a lot before establishing this loan for students and the ability of the students to pay back, because they can trace all their people wherever they are in the world. “You cannot kill somebody in Michigan and go and hide in Hawaii or Califonia because it is a big State. They will fish you out within 30minutes.
“Yet they are unable to get the people who took loan from them, because the person must first of all be employed, must earn income to put food on his table or may be accommodation before he can pay back any loan in America.

“There is no need you give somebody a loan when you know he is not likely to pay back. The organization giving out that loan will die that is the issue.
“The student’s loan can never work in a third world, he should own up that he signed that bill without proper consultation since Gbajabiamilla was standing behind him, former speaker, it is wrong, you can not sign something in to law without consulting the people who are directly affected.
“The people who are teaching in the school, you cannot talk of University autonomy when there is no room for expansion in the colleges. If you give autonomy to college of education Ankpa today is it the students or the parents who will contribute money to build the faculty? Who will recruit teachers and pay them?
“In the US where these things are done all these basic things are already there. You can not jump and start copying people from the middle of the road

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Southeast Insecurity: Obi challenges leaders of the region to think out of the box




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*** ‘No Economic activity can flourish with insecurity’

The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, in the February 25th, 2033 general election Peter Obi has challenged the people and leaders of the South East region to look out for a possible permanent solution
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, in a statement quoted Obi to have indicated that security is key to any economic activities said all hands must on deck to stem the rising insecurity in the area.

In a message he sent to the South East Summit on Economy and Security in Owerri, Imo state capital, the former anambra governor noted that the Summit is coming at the auspicious time given the disturbing insecurity in the region which has far-reaching implications to the socio-economic and political development in the geopolitical zone.

Obi commended the Southeast Governors for being thoughtful in organizing the summit and apologized for his absence despite being duly invited due to an inevitable earlier scheduled engagement outside the country.

The LP standard bearer whose message was read to the summit, urged the leaders to come together and speak up on the way to end the embarrassing insecurity in the region.

“This summit which is focusing merely on security and its economic impact on the Southeast East has come at the most auspicious time. It’s very necessary that as a people we come together, and put our heads together to find a lasting solution to this problem of insecurity in our homeland.

“Our mainstay as a people is business, no business and indeed any other economic activity would thrive amid insecurity.

“If we put our minds to it and work in unity and mutual trust, we will find a way out of this problem that is alien to us.

“Let me therefore commend your excellencies, the Governors of the South East for initiating the idea of the summit and working together to make this a reality.

“Let me urge everyone at this summit and those of us who are unable to attend in person to speak up, contribute ideas, and be part of the initiatives or actions that would be agreed upon at this summit to bring an end to the problem of insecurity in our region.”

The former Anambra state Governor prayed for “God to guide the country, grant the people the wisdom, strength, and courage to take the necessary steps to end insecurity in the homeland.
Following that, he said the people can continue to work with their God-given talent and energy to restore peace, tranquility in the South East and indeed Nigeria at large.

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Fallout of Tribunal Verdict: Kano is on a keg of gun powder, Northern Youths alert Tinubu




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***Warn against electoral injustice that is defining Nigeria’s democratic system

The Northern Youth Assembly has written President Bola Ahmed Tinubu telling him not to be deceived by some elements within his government who are bent on creating a crisis situation in Kano State.
The youths indicated that such a crisis, if allowed to surface, will erode the Goodwill Tinubu is having in the North.
The group spoke against the backdrop of the recent Kano Tribunal verdict that upturned the victory of the Governor Abba Kabiru Yusuf while declaring the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate Nasiru Gawuna
The open letter which was obtained by journalists in Abuja and jointly signed by the acting President, Dr Ali Idris and National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Adikwu Omale Joshua said they have painstakingly resolved to communicate to Tinubu through the media in order to avoid unnecessary protocol and administrative bureaucracy, considering the gravity of the situation, as well the urgency to draw his attention on the matter before it goes out of hand.
“As you are fully aware, Kano is officially the most populous State in the country, with an estimated figure of over 20 million, a population size equivalent to more than 5 states if added together in the country. Kano State, is also the heartbeat of the North, which many citizens of other states largely depend upon, for the viability of their economy, and steady earnings for livelihood.
“Kano State, has for some years been stable politically since 2019 due to huge sacrifices many individuals and organizations had made, such as Kano Peace Committee (KPC), the Nigeria Police under the able leadership of CP Mohammed Wakil, who summoned all the courage to contain the institutionalized political thuggery, until when the inconclusive saga descended on Kano, through the hand work of some politicians, who did not mean well for the State.
“Your Excellency, many lives could have been lost in 2019, but to God be the glory the situation was marginally controlled.
“The 2023 general elections, equally went through peacefully, courtesy of the joint efforts of the security agencies, Kano Peace Committee (KPC), as well as the cooperation of the Kano State Government.
“Kano State has been able to escape many of the evil plans purportedly designed to drag the State into chaos and disharmony. We are all aware of the pluralistic nature of the State, with diversities in tribe, region, religion, culture and social background.
“Sir, the fragility of the democratic system especially in Africa occasioned by obvious social, legal and institutional injustice, have cumulatively exposed why the system is steadily losing the confidence of the citizens.”
This the letter said is apparently witnessed through the broad day electoral injustice, such as: forceful snatching of the peoples mandate, through manipulation of either electoral process or judiciary, an evil act masterminded by some desperate and evilly minded politicians, who do not care about the future of the country, except for their political interest, even though at the detriment of the teeming number of electorates.
“It is our humble opinion that, if the Nigerian democratic system should continue to operate on the basis of electoral injustice, undermining the best practices of the democratic governance, in fairness to all parties, the repercussions would surely be devastating one.
“Your Excellency, we are law abiding citizens and we believe in the rule of law, however, justice shall not only be done, but must apparently be seen to be done. “The judiciary as an independent arm of Government, is expected to be the only last resort for a common man, however, where the citizens have begun to doubt the neutrality of the judiciary in the dispensation of justice system, then the country is certainly heading towards doom.
“We have received with dismay, information which alleged the involvement of some elements in your Government, to have interfered and manipulated the Kano State Governorship Elections Tribunal judgment, an information which if it turned out to be true, could certainly be described as unfortunate, unprecedented, condemnable and uncalled for.
“Kano State, as temperamental as it is, such desperate actions could trigger political crisis in the State, and could possibly lead to anarchy.
“Kano is considered as the commercial nerve center not only for the North, but to the entire sub Saharan African countries, who have one relationship or the other with Kano State. Kano State could be described as a role model, and as the most politically strategic territory with vast knowledge and political civilization.
“In view of this, Kano is fragile and when broken into pieces, the national security would surely be threatened.
“Sir, let us draw you to the memory lane, starting from 1999 to 2007, when you served as the Executive Governor of Lagos State, under AD. Your party was entirely different from the party at the centre, and despite some misunderstandings, His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo led Federal Government did not make any attempt to snatch the mandate which the good people of Lagos State gave you, to manage the affairs of the State, from 1999 to 2007.
“Therefore allowing, some alleged members of your Government, to mastermind the conspiracy of snatching the mandate of the Kano people, is as good as inviting hatred against your own personality, doubting your commitment to upholding democratic principles, institutionalizing electoral injustice, dashing the hope of the Nigerian electorates to lose complete confidence in the system, and subscribing to the school of thought which emphasizes on the unsuitability of the democratic system for African countries.
“In addition, is this electoral injustuice is allowed to strive, it would further reaffirm the failure of your Government to uphold the rule of law, and treat all citizens equally and fairly regardless of ethnicity, region, religion, party affiliation and others, and the perceived situation wouldn’t only amount to creating unrest, but would surely be a set back on the Nigerian democratisation and Africa as a whole.
“The perceived conspiracy by some alleged elements in the Government, deploying Government machineries and influence, to destroy Kano State, the consequences would not end and stop in Kano, as the repercussions would certainly create a multiplier negative effects on other states of the federation. Therefore using politics to ignite the crisis in Kano, through the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, would surely metamorphose into creating a crisis which would be difficult to control, based on the brewing tensions, resulting from the Kano State Governorship Elections Tribunal Judgment,” the group said.
The youth assembly, however, said there is no better time for Tinubu to act, than now to save the situation, by prevailing on his party members who have been alleged to be involved in political recklessness, as the risk is not worth trying.

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CSU: Atiku’s ‘wild goose chase’ is nothing more than “opposition’s research on a political opponent” – Tinubu




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President Bola Tinubu, on Monday, intensified his legal efforts to block the Chicago State University from releasing his academic records to his rival presidential candidate during the last election, Atiku Abubakar.

After obtaining a reprieve from the District Court of Northern Illinois, Eastern Division, with the court temporarily suspending its 20 September order compelling the university to release the documents to Atiku, Mr Tinubu has now filed a more detailed objection seeking to convince the court to reverse the order outright.

Mr Tinubu’s application, filed by his New York-based lawyer, Oluwole Afolabi, is anchored on two broad reasons.

First is that his academic records in issue are not useful in Nigerian courts as claimed by Atiku because “the Nigerian election proceedings and the Nigerian courts have explicitly been unreceptive to the discovery.”

Mr Tinubu’s second reason is that Atiku’s request “is unduly intrusive because it allows Applicant (Atiku) to conduct a fishing expedition into Intervenor’s private, confidential, and protected educational records.”
He urged the court to set aside the previous order, saying his political opponents had previously used his illegally obtained academic records to attack him.
“The unlawful release of documents previously allowed Intervenor’s opponents to sow confusion and spread conspiracy theories,” Tinubu’s objection read in part.

It added that Atiku’s application was not anything more than “opposition research on a political opponent”.

Atiku had set off the legal battle with an application filed on 2 August requesting the court to order the Chicago State University to release Mr Tinubu’s academic records to him.

The former Nigerian vice president requested the documents in the hope of using them at the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja to challenge the authenticity of the certificate presented by Mr Tinubu to Nigeria’s electoral body, INEC, for the 2023 election.

He argued that among other things, a “second Chicago State University diploma has since emerged (dated June 27, 1979) that bears the name “Bola Ahmed Tinubu” but also presents with a different font, punctuation, seal, and signatures, than the June 22, 1979 diploma, among other alleged discrepancies.”

Atiku told the US court that he wanted to authenticate these documents whether a “Chicago State University diploma in the name of Bola Ahmed Tinubu dated June 22, 1979, that was submitted to the INEC before the Nigerian presidential election in February 2023 is genuine or was forged.”

On 19 September, a magistrate judge of the court, Jeffrey Gilbert, ordered the university to release the requested documents to Atiku within two days.

Mr Tinubu’s legal team swiftly approached a district judge of the court to suspend the order to enable them to file a more elaborate challenge against it.

At an emergency hearing on 21 September, the district judge, Nancy Maldonado, agreed to delay the order compelling the Chicago State University to release the academic documents of President Tinubu.

Following the approval, Mr Tinubu, through his legal team, filed his objection on Monday.

‘Atiku barred from using my CSU records’

In the objection filed on Monday, Mr Tinubu’s legal team argued that the magistrate judge granted Atiku’s application even though the applicant was barred from attempting to use the discovery in the foreign proceeding.

“That conclusion should be rejected because the discovery cannot be ‘for use’ in the foreign proceeding due to the decision of the Nigerian Election Court, and that decision shows the Nigerian courts would not be receptive to the discovery sought by the application.

“The Magistrate gave no weight to the decision of the Nigerian Election Court, which is authoritative proof of the unreceptivity of the foreign court to the discovery sought,” the objection read in part.

It added that the possibility that the Nigerian Supreme Court, where Atiku proceeded to challenge the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Court, may accept the documents was a mere speculation and not “not an indication that foreign courts might consider the discovery.”

‘Atiku’s application is fishing expedition’

In the other plank of objection, Mr Tinubu’s team argued that while Atiku’s case at the Nigerian court only touched on “a CSU diploma”, the magistrate judge “erroneously concluded” to issue an order for the release of “other educational documents.”

They said the court erroneously held that “a foray into other documents” was permissible because “Intervenor also submitted other educational documents in a related proceeding in Nigeria.”

The objection added: “The Magistrate erred in requiring compliance with two subpoenas that go far beyond the narrow issue of the diploma submitted to the INEC, and finding that the education records protections were overcome by Applicant’s investigatory interests.

“The Magistrate determined that the Applicant’s interest outweighed the privacy interest because the Intervenor put the diploma at issue by submitting it to the INEC.

The Magistrate also concluded the Applicant’s interests were stronger as to ‘other educational documents’ submitted in related proceedings. This second conclusion is clearly erroneous because the ‘other documents’ are not at issue in the electoral challenge, and discovery for “related proceedings” is merely another way of describing a fishing expedition.

‘I will suffer harm if CSU releases my documents to Atiku’

Mr Tinubu argued that he stood to suffer harm in allowing discovery on issues and documents outside the diploma because his records “were illegally obtained previously and have been utilised to attack him”.

He added: “Obtaining more documents via a subpoena – particularly ones that are not part of the INEC submission by Intervenor – is both improper and nonsensical.

“The unlawful release of documents previously allowed Intervenor’s opponents to sow confusion and spread conspiracy theories. Applicant should not be permitted to conduct discovery on the discovery illegally obtained by Applicant’s allies and Intervenor’s political opponents. Discovery on discovery is rarely appropriate and is certainly not appropriate when the sole issue Applicant identified is the Intervenor’s submission of his diploma to INEC.

“Nor does the fact that Intervenor’s educational records have been spread into court records justify discovery. Section 1782 does not authorise fishing expeditions to satisfy curiosity or resolve public controversy.”

‘I’m vindicated’

In conclusion, Mr Tinubu said the Chicago State University had already been established as the most critical by stating that he was awarded the degree as he stated.

“This point is irrelevant to Applicant because he is not seeking anything more than opposition research on a political opponent. The Magistrate Judge clearly erred in granting the application for discovery and concluding that Chicago State University must respond to the document and deposition subpoenas

He urged the court to set aside the conclusion of the magistrate judge and reverse his order “because the information sought cannot be used and therefore is not “for use” in the foreign proceedings.

Atiku had, in his application, argued that among other things, a “second Chicago State University diploma has since emerged (dated June 27, 1979) that bears the name “Bola Ahmed Tinubu” but also presents with a different font, punctuation, seal, and signatures, than the June 22, 1979 diploma, among other alleged discrepancies.”

Atiku told the US that he wanted to authenticate these documents whether a “Chicago State University diploma in the name of Bola Ahmed Tinubu dated June 22, 1979, that was submitted to the INEC before the Nigerian presidential election in February 2023 is genuine or was forged.”

Atiku added that “under Nigerian law, the submission of a fraudulent document to the INEC would have disqualified President Tinubu from participating in the election.”

When Atiku filed his application in the US district court on 2 August, his petition challenging the presidential election was pending before the Nigerian Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. Therefore, Atiku said his application in the US court was to obtain discoveries that would support his petitions in the Nigerian court of appeal.

Court documents show that a day after Atiku’s application was filed, President Tinubu filed a motion to join in the suit. The judge granted the motion to intervene on 7 August.

Culled from Premium Times

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