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Weekly political notes


Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara PHOTO: TWITTER/House of Representatives

Protesters Storm National Assembly, Demand Resignation Of Saraki, Dogara
Members of the Citizens’ Action to Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN) on Tuesday, stormed the main entrance of the National Assembly to demand the immediate resignation of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.The group accused members of the National Assembly of siphoning funds meant for constituency projects in their various senatorial districts and constituencies. It also frowned at “budget padding” and ‘illegal insertions” in the 2018 budget.

The convener of the group, Ibraheem Wala, while speaking said the leaders of the National Assembly lack the moral capacity to hold positions of authority.“They have shown that they lack the requisite credibility and moral capacity to hold the position of authority. It is clear that the insertions are huge, which also signifies the size of the criminality behind the intent to hijack the budget,” he said.This is not surprising at all, but may be the beginning of what may befall National Assembly in the days ahead. More of this protest should be expected, because those behind it are determined to rubbish National Assembly members ahead of 2019 polls.

Meanwhile, one does not need a soothsayer to know that the protest was sponsored. But that does not mean that National Assembly members have no explanations to make on how they spend their constituency project monies. There is no transparency regarding how these constituency projects are executed.Besides, Nigerians have consistently criticized the jumbo pay and other allowances earned by National Assembly members at the expense of other Nigerians; a development National Assembly members have remained unperturbed and unrepentant about.

Senate Moves To Create State Police
The Senate on Tuesday, resolved to direct its constitutional review committee to put in place machinery to amend the constitution to allow for the creation of state police.It also resolved to call on security agencies to stop involving themselves in the politics of the nation.These resolutions, were, however, preceded by heated arguments among the lawmakers as most of them contributed to a point of order raised by Jonah Jang (PDP, Plateau North).

The Senate should not be smart by half. Instead of a move to create state police, the Senate should amend the constitution to allow for devolution of powers to give way for restructuring of the country. It is believed that with the country’s restructuring, every other thing or problem such as insecurity will begin to fall in place.So, instead of playing to the gallery like when it rejected devolution of powers during the constitutional amendment exercise, Senate should show courage and patriotism by adopting it now. There is no way state police will effectively function without adequate funding.

It is a known fact that many states are struggling to meet up with their obligations. What will be the situation when funding of state police becomes their responsibility. So, there is urgent need for restructuring and National Assembly has a major role to play. If the 8th Assembly is shy to carry out its responsibility at this crucial moment of the country, posterity will not forgive them.

Ekiti White Paper Can’t Bar Fayemi From Contesting Election – Court
A Federal Capital Territory High Court, Bwari division, on Tuesday, voided the report of the Commission of Enquiry set up by Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, which barred Kayode Fayemi from holding public office for 10 years.The Ekiti State Government had, through the commission of enquiry, investigated the tenure of Fayemi as governor between 2010 and 2014, and found him culpable in the mismanagement of funds belonging to the state government.However, the judgment delivered on Tuesday, in Abuja followed a case filed by Action Peoples Party (APP), challenging the eligibility of Fayemi to contest the office of governor of Ekiti state on grounds that he was indicted by the commission.

The judge, O.A. Musa, dismissed the suit by APP on grounds that it was without merit.There is judicial precedent that Panel of Inquiry has no constitutional powers to indict or disqualify anybody, but politicians will always feign ignorance. That is why state governors will always embark on wild goose chase, setting up Commission of Inquiry to probe their predecessors, only for the court to quash it. Of what importance is such Commission, when it is known that its constitutionality is questionable? It is all about scoring cheap political point and settling personal scores.Now that Court has cleared Fayemi, it is hoped that Ekiti Government will spend the remaining days to prepare for election.

Buhari To Ndigbo: Nigeria’s Presidency Negotiable
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, told Igbo leaders and Southeast stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that the presidency is negotiable and urged them to vote for him so as to negotiate from position of strength in 2023.Buhari said only victory for APC would guarantee them a bright political future in 2023.The president spoke in Owerri at a mega rally organised for him by stakeholders of the party in the Southeast zone.

Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, enjoined Ndigbo to navigate their way to the centre of national politics by supporting the APC in 2019.In his words: “Nigeria’s presidency is negotiable and only those strong enough can negotiate well; so the Igbo can use their numerical strength in 2019 to ensure a brighter political future in the next election.”

Hmmm, the people of Southeast shine your eyes and heads because elections don reach. The haste by which the Owerri rally was organised was very suspicious. The conspicuous absence of major southeast APC leaders from the rally was an indicator that all is not well with the party in the zone, but the presence of the SGF and other party bigwigs from the North showed that the rally has presidency’s backing.

But whatever is the case, one thing that is very clear is that Buhari is seeking for southeast votes in 2019, but was not categorical in his support for southeast presidency in 2023. Igbos should be wary of this kind of promise, especially from a political party and a President that have not treated them well since it assumed power. If Buhari and APC are sincere, they know that it is only southeast and Northcentral zones that have not produced president and vice since 1999.

So, in the interest of fairness and equity, it is expected of APC and Buhari to openly support Southeast presidency in 2023, instead of mouthing it now and decline at the last minute. But this does not mean that Southeast people should fold their arms and wait for power to be handed over to them. They should be mindful that power is not given on a platter of gold. So, they are expected to play politics and struggle for power if they need it.

Court Orders National Assembly To Begin Buhari’s Impeachment
A Federal High Court, sitting in Osogbo has ordered the National Assembly to immediately commence impeachment process against President Muhammadu Buhari.Justice Maurine Adaobi Onyetenu Wednesday, gave the order based on the suit filed by two Nigerians, Kanmi Ajibola, a lawyer and Sulaiman Adeniyi, a right activists, urging the court to enforce the National Assembly to impeach President Buhari.

Ordinarily, National Assembly doesn’t need to be ordered by court before it commences impeachment proceedings against Buhari. This is because the constitution has provisions for impeachment proceedings against the president. However, impeachment moves against Buhari in the past met brick wall.Not because it was unconstitutional, but just because of the tension and sentiments it generated. Again, an impeachment process is too awkward, hectic and cumbersome and may likely overheat the polity. Many believe that impeachment move against President Buhari is not necessary now that 2019 election is approaching. Instead of dissipating energies and time in trying to impeach Buhari, Nigerians should make a choice in 2019.

El-Rufai Has Converted Kaduna APC Into His Personal Franchise-Shehu Sani
The senator representing Kaduna central, Shehu Sani, has said the executive governor of Kaduna State, Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai has converted the APC party in the state into his own personal franchise.Sani spoke in Abuja on Tuesday, at the public presentation of a book titled: “Balarabe Musa: The Voice of the Masses”, an event attended by Oshiomhole.
“For instance, if I’m from Lagos State, I will forever remain in APC. If I’m from Borno, I will forever remain in APC and if I’m from other states like Edo, I will have to remain in APC. But the situation in Kaduna is one in which the governor has converted the party into his own personal franchise.”

Senator Sani, for too long, you have sounded like a broken record over APC crisis in your state. Nobody has listened to you or ready to listen to you. Now that it is obvious to you that El-Rufai has taken control of the party in your state, why not try your luck in another party? Or are you saying that your political future is tied to APC? After all, you have said before now that you will leave APC and contest governorship seat against El-Rufai. Time is of essence in this matter. This is because election is drawing near and you need to prove El-Rufai and his cohorts wrong. APC is just one out of the 68 registered political parties, so take a leap and try something new. Sani, don’t say that you are not aware that governors, apart from being party leaders in their states, are in the habit of hijacking party structures in their states with the support of the party’s national leadership. Kaduna is not an exception, even though the action is undemocratic.

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CATBANYakubu Dogara
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