Weekly political notes
2019 Election Sequence: Court Restrains National Assembly
The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, asked the National Assembly not to take any action on the Bill amending the Electoral Act, which President Muhammadu Buhari refused to sign into law.
One of the major amendments done by the lawmakers is that which seeks to change the sequence of elections. The lawmakers want their election to come first, followed by that of state lawmakers and governors, and lastly the presidential election.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed made the order while delivering ruling in an application filed by the Accord Party through its counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), asking for a preservative order on the matter.The judge said: “All parties in the suit are hereby directed to maintain status quo pending the determination of the substantive suit between now and the next adjourned date.”
This is an expected development, whose outcome will deepen the country’s democracy and legal system. This will take care of the unnecessary controversies that have continued to trail the National Assembly’s decision on the election sequence.
Even though, some have argued that the National Assembly has the constitutional power to dictate the sequence of elections for INEC, this many believe will erode INEC’s independence and it’s powers to fix, conduct and announce election results. Now that the matter is before the court, it is expected that all parties in the suit will maintain the status quo, pending the judgment of the court. This is despite whatever are their interests in the matter.
Meanwhile, if not that Nigerian politicians are always in the habit of politicising everything, there shouldn’t be much hue and cry over election sequence. After all, it is only those who have performed in office that will be re-elected in a free and fair election. But how many of them have performed well in office to earn the people’s vote in 2019? These are their fears, coupled with the fact that the 2019 elections may not be free and fair. So, anything can happen to rob them their seats.
Reps Lifts Suspension On Abdulmumin Jibrin
The House of Representatives has lifted a suspension it placed on Abdulmumin Jibrin, a member of the House from Kano.This followed a letter signed by Jibrin, allegedly apologising to the House.Although the letter wasn’t read in full before House members, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara paraphrased it, saying he has apologised and met all the conditions given to him.“He has fulfilled all the conditions by writing this letter and so he is free to resume his legislative duties whenever he wishes.”
Jibrin was suspended in 2017 for a period of 180 legislative days for ‘unfolding’ budget padding scandal in the legislature.Nigerian politicians are the same. Whenever they are shouting or behaving as if they are quarreling or disagreeing, just don’t bother because, you won’t know when they will settle their differences. What is permanent is their selfish interests, not the collective interests of the people. So, it is not out of place that Dogara and Jibrin may have resolved their differences before Dogara merely read his apology to fulfill all righteousness.
Why lifting of Jibrin’s suspension, after it has lasted more than the stipulated 180 legislative days? What happened to Jibrin’s entitlements and salaries? Will he be paid in full or half, considering that he did not do any legislative work while on suspension? What happened to the allegation he made against the leadership of the National Assembly?
Be rest assured, unless Jibrin refuses to play along with Dogara and his cohorts, Jibrin will receive all his salary and allowances without hitches. Is Jibrin not one of them? He is indeed. After all, his suspension and recall was political.
Sport Minister, Dalung Accuses Gov. Lalong’s Government Of Corruption
On Monday, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, accused the Plateau State Government of mismanaging over $2 billion loan collected.According to the minister, the APC administration in Plateau was not prudent in managing resources.
“Where is the $2 billion loan collected from African Development Bank for potatoe processing factory, payable in 25 years? Where is the factory located? Or where is the money kept and in whose account? Why did the state government keep the issue of the loan secret?” the minister said in a statement he personally signed in response to an attack on him by the APC chairman in the state.He also accused the state government of mismanaging local government funds.
Not many will take Dalung serious, knowing that he talks anyhow. Apart from this, he has not had the best of relationship with his state governor Simon Lalong. Raising this allegation now that preparations for 2019 elections are gathering momentum will be seen as politics, even though it may be true.As a lawyer, Dalung should have known that it is not enough to level allegation against Lalong’s government without concrete evidence. It is expected of Dalung dig deep and come up with more facts. Lalong should explain to the people how his government expended the loan. After all, it is a borrowed fund that the state must repay with public fund.
Benue Crisis: Buhari Summons IGP Idris
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday summoned the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to a closed-door meeting.The meeting held on Tuesday, morning at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.The meeting held about 24 hours after Buhari told Benue leaders that he was not aware Idris disobeyed his directive to remain in Benue until the herdsmen and farmers conflict in the state was resolved.
Buhari’s public declaration that he was not aware that Idris disobeyed his directive on the Benue crisis has once more exposed lack of cohesion in his government. With this, it seems that Buhari is not in direct touch with the security agencies as expected. Now, on whose instruction didthe IGP act if not Buhari’s? This development if true is a very big threat to the nation’s security.
Meanwhile, why summon Idris after he had disobeyed presidential directive? Besides, the summon was belated and may be of no consequences, unless Buhari is saying that Idris has other bosses apart from him? If that is not case, why did he flout Buhari’s directive?
Allow Me Travel Abroad For Treatment, Metuh Begs Court
The former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olisa Metuh, on Wednesday, approached the Federal High Court in Abuja with an application seeking the release of his International Passport to enable him travel abroad for medical attention.The former PDP spokesman, in his application moved by his counsel, Emeka Etiaba, prayed the trial judge, Okon Abang, to grant him leave to travel abroad on health basis.Metuh, who is facing a seven-count charge before the court, had earlier been granted a N400 million bail by the court.
While nobody is wishing Metuh to be sick or dead, it is quite disturbing and surprising that whenever a highly placed Nigerian is facing trial, he will suddenly become sick, needing treatment abroad urgently. This is despite that throughout their stay in government or public office, they never deem it fit to improve public health institutions. They usually engage in medical tourism abroad with public funds.But even at this, Metuh’s case should not be different. If he deserves such privilege just like others before him, the court should consider him. Metuh’s travail is enough for people in public office today to learn from.
APGA’ll Take Over S’ East in 2019–Maku
National Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Labaran Maku, on Wednesday, declared that the party would take over the Southeast states come 2019, following the overwhelming vote the party got in the last Anambra gubernatorial election. Maku, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to APGA, added that the party was open to those who want to advance their political careers and also members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who are disenchanted with the system.The former gubernatorial aspirant stated this when a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Charles Ugomuoh, made known his senatorial ambition to represent the people of Imo East Senatorial District.
If it was because somebody declared to contest on APGA platform that made Maku think that APGA will take over Southeast in 2019, it simply means that Maku has not done his homework well. Maku, Maku!!!! Let APGA take over the whole Anambra in 2019 first, before taking over the Southeast zone.Or is Maku saying that he is not aware that APGA is not in total control of all elective seats in Anambra State presently? Maku should also try to make sure APGA makes an inroad in his state, Nasarrawa, where it has no strong presence. It is clear that if APGA could not take over Southeast when late Ikemba Odimegwu Ojukwu was alive, it will be difficult for the party to grow beyond its status in the Southeast. Besides, neither ex-governor Peter Obi nor his predecessor Willie Obiano allowed APGA to grow beyond Anambra State. This is the major reason the party may continue to remain where it is in the Nigerian political space, until the unexpected happens.
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