The in-fighting among All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers over the leadership of the National Assembly took a dramatic turn yesterday, leading to the disruption of plenary.
The House was to decide on the remaining principal officers but some lawmakers disrupted the sitting and attempted to hijack the mace.
But lawmakers loyal to Speaker Yakubu Dogara, took custody of the mace to pre-empt moves to seize it by anti-Dogara members.
Fracas ensued few moments after Dogara commenced proceedings for the day.
Orker-Jev Yisa, chairman of the ad-hoc committee on the review of House standing order, stood to move a motion for a closed-door session but was interrupted by some protesting members.
After almost one hour of rowdiness, Dogara was able to restore normalcy and reconvene plenary.
He told his colleagues to consider themselves “lucky” to have been chosen to represent their constituencies, and promised that the crisis would be resolved.
He later adjourned sitting till July 21.
While the drama lasted, some of the lawmakers were chanting “Dogara”, while their counterparts on the other divide kept shouting “APC” repeatedly.
Femi Gbajabiamila, who the party is proposing to be the majority leader after being defeated by Dogara in the June 9 election; and Leo Ogor, the immediate past majority leader of the House, were among the members who sued for peace during the show of shame.
Both men approached the speaker seeking means to resolve the crisis.
The APC leadership had proposed Alhassan Doguwa as deputy house leader, Mohammed Monguno chief whip and Pally Iriase as deputy chip whip.
Many APC lawmakers are still unhappy with Dogara and Bukola Saraki, senate president, for upstaging the party’s preferred candidates for their positions.
Meanwhile, Senators of the All Progressives Congress, APC, North-East Caucus, yesterday nominated Ali Ndume as the Majority Leader of the Senate, in defiance of the party’s anointed candidate, Ahmed Lawan.
Bala Ibn Na’alla was also nominated as deputy leader as aaginst the candidate of George Akume nominated by the party. This is seen as victory for loyalists of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Lawan as the anointed candidate of APC lost the senate presidency election to Bukola Saraki.
The nominations are subject to approval.
It would be recalled that the The Senate on Wednesday rejected a move by some APC senators to read the letter by the APC recommending some senators as other principal officers of the senate.
Sen. Gbenga Ashafa (APC-Lagos East), who relied on Order 15 of the Senate Standing Order, urged the President of the Senate to read on the floor of the Red Chamber, the letter from the Party.
“Yesterday, most of the media houses carried a letter that was written by the Chairman of our great party, the APC.
“We were expecting that that letter, which has been received in your office will be read in order to see to the resolution of the party leadership tussle,” he said.
He backed the decision of the party leadership to recommend persons to occupy the other positions exclusively preserved for the party.
Quoting from Order 28 (1) he read: “There shall be a Majority Leader of the Senate. The Majority Leader shall be a senator nominated from the party with the highest number of senators.
“I believe that that letter should have been read to the hearing of all senators here present. Perhaps that will be the solution to the leadership tussle in the Senate,” he said.
It would be recalled that APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had in a letter dated June 22, 2015, recommended senators to occupy the other principal positions.
The letter recommended Sen. Ahmad Lawan as Senate Leader; George Akume, Deputy Senate Leader; Olusola Adeyeye as Chief Whip; and Abu Ibrahim as Deputy Whip.
In a related development, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari would not intervene in the leadership crisis currently rocking the National Assembly until the All Progressives Congress’ state governors ask him to do so.
Shehu said this while featuring on Sunrise, a programme of a Lagos-based private television station, ChannelsTV. He said Buhari would only step into the matter at the point when the APC state governors inform him that they cannot fix the problem.
He said that was necessary because the governors had during a meeting they had with the President on Tuesday night promised to handle the issue. He said, “When the governors met with the President, they told him that ‘we are the leaders in our states and we have influence over all of these senators.
They come from our places and from us and we can handle it.’ “The President will step into the crisis at the point when the governors say they can no longer fix it.”
In the event that he decides to intervene, the presidential spokesman said Buhari would not do that to the level of imposing leaders on the lawmakers. Shehu said Buhari’s position on the matter had remained that the National Assembly is an independent arm of government and he would not be seen meddling in their affairs.
He said the governors while advising the President to maintain his posture, asked him to allow them handle the matter their own way. He said the President has a responsibility to the party and to the nation. He also said despite what was currently playing out in the National Assembly, the situation had not gone out of control.
“The President has a responsibility to the party, the President has a responsibility to the nation and as far as we are looking at the situation it has not gotten out of control. It is still within manageable parameters, it is a little storm we will overcome and Nigerians better get used to it,” he added.
Apparently reacting to a statement credited to the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, that Buhari is not the leader of the party, Shehu said the President was the leader. “Does it need to be said? I don’t think it needs to be said that the President is the leader of his party.
There’s no question about it,” he declared. He added that there is need for Nigerians to understand the basics of politics as the country is no more in the military era when decrees are made by a single leader.
“Politics, as its theory says, is basically about contest for interests and these interests may be fully defined by political party programme, while some of these things may be outside political party programme,” he said.
While corroborating Buhari’s claim that he inherited virtually empty treasury, the presidential spokesman challenged Nigerians to ask a former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Suleiman, to give further explanations on the $30billion he claimed the former government left behind.
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
Wike, Pride Of Nigeria’s Democracy, NUJ Affirms
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has described Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, as an exhibit of pride to democracy in Nigeria.
The NUJ also noted that Wike has redefined governance through demonstration of democracy in action with his service to Rivers people.
The National leadership, the 36 State Executives, and the FCT, including members of the NUJ across the country made the assertion in Port Harcourt during the inspection tour led by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim of both completed and ongoing projects being undertaken by the governor in the state.
The National President of the NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, said the 1999 Constitution bestows on the media the responsibility to hold governments accountable to the people.
Isiguzo posited that having placed the projects side-by-side with the expectations of the populace, it was obvious that the governor’s investment in critical infrastructure would remain lifelong empowerment tools for the people.
”We were at the Mother and Child Hospital. We took time to look at the facilities there. That can easily be said to be first of its kind in the country.
”At the much-talked about Real Madrid Football Academy, where they are going to train the young ones, we saw that they have good facilities. At the moment, they have also offered admission to 140 pupils.
”That’s also to catch-them-young, and I want to believe that by the time this kind of resources is continuously invested in sports development in Nigeria, it’s just a matter of time, it will gain its pride of place in sporting world.”
On her part, the National President of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs Ladi Bala said that the projects she had seen were entirely unique, unprecedented and very uncommon in the country.
According to Bala, the Emmanuel Chinwenwo Aguma Judges’ Quarters stand out as first of its kind in Nigeria, with its serene ambiance that would translate into enhancing the productivity of judges of Rivers origin.
”I believe that democracy is at work in Rivers State, and, for Rivers people, I want to congratulate them, and to say, this is the true reflection of what democracy should be across board.
”I want to call on other governors across the country to borrow a leaf from what the governor of Rivers State is doing. Wike is working, and we are very proud of what we have seen here”, she added.
In his reaction, the National Internal Auditor of NUJ, Muhammad Tukur, stated that Wike was a committed leader with the vision of uplifting the standard of life of his people.
Tukur, who expressed gratitude to Wike for his support to the NUJ National Conference in Port Harcourt, said that his show of love for journalists confirms his commitment to the welfare of the people.
On his part, Chairman of Oyo State Council of the NUJ, Comrade Ismail Ademola Babalola, asserted that the Mother and Child Hospital, and the Real Madrid Football Academy were part of projects Governor Wike was using to secure a productive future for the youths of the state because they meet global standard.
Also speaking, the Vice President of NUJ North Central Zone, Chief Wilson Bako, commended the quality of the various roads and flyover bridges constructed in the Port Harcourt metropolis to make the city tourists’ destination of choice.
In the same vein, the Vice Chairman of NUJ in Jigawa State, Comrade Larai Musa, said she has confirmed all that the news media had carried about Wike and his projects’ mantra, and asserted that it was leaders like him that were needed at the national level.
Also, Comrade Ikechukwu Ordu of Enugu State Council of the NUJ noted the need for other political leaders to emulate Wike in providing dividends of democracy to Rivers people and changing the fortunes of his state.
Also from the Enugu State Council of the NUJ, Comrade Ugochukwu Chukwudieke, said she was completely overwhelmed by what Wike has done in constructing the Okoro-Nu-Odo Flyover Bridge, Rumuogba Flyover Bridge, and Rebisi Flyover Bridge delivered within one year.
Chukwudieke also praised the quality of work on the Rumuola Flyover Bridge, Ogbun-nu-Abali Flyover Bridge, GRA Junction Flyover Bridge, and the Orochiri-Wurukwo flyover project at Waterlines Junction by Aba Road.
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