The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has explained that the need to avoid leadership vacuum after security agencies shamelessly botched the scheduled elective National convention in Port Harcourt was one of the potent reasons for the extension of the tenure of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the party by 12 months.
The party also emphasised that delegates decided to extend the tenure of the caretaker committee by 12 months to enable the conclusion of all the litigations in courts, reconciliation efforts as well as restore peace to the party before the next convention in 2017.
The Tide reports that the August 17, 2016, National Convention, which held at the state PDP Secretariat on Aba Road in Port Harcourt unanimously approved the extension of the tenure of the National Caretaker Committee by 12 months, while also increasing its membership to 13.
Moving the motion for the extension of the tenure of the caretaker committee, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said it was important to avoid leadership vacuum and allow room for the resolution of all outstanding cases in courts.
Seconding the motion, the former Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Zainab Maina, said the prevailing circumstances impose a burden on the party to resolve its differences, and fashion out how best to prepare for the 2019 general elections, which the PDP must win, to restore confidence in the country’s democracy.
The Chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee, and Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, however, put the question for the extension of the lifespan of the committee to members, who through a unanimous voice vote, approved the motion.
The convention further expanded the membership of the National Caretaker Committee to 13, and also restated its resolve that no member of the current National Caretaker Committee should contest elections into the National Working Committee (NWC) whenever it is held.
The Tide reports that delegates at the National Convention had earlier adopted a motion moved by the House Minority Leader, Rep Leo Ogor, to amend the agenda of the National Convention and step down the issue of election into various positions in the NWC.
The National Convention of the PDP took place at the Secretariat of the PDP in Rivers State along Aba Road after the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had deployed security agencies to take over the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt, where the event was billed to take place.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Donald Awunah, explained that officers and men of the police were deployed to take over the venue of the convention as early as 4am on Wednesday to avert anarchy and break down of law and order.
Awunah said the primary responsibility of the police was to protect life and prevent crisis, and added that due to the tension and the conflicting rulings by courts of coordinate jurisdiction on the National Convention, the police thought it best to seal off the venue.
According to him, “the warring parties need to follow due process to end their crisis through the courts, and as a law enforcement agency, what do you do? You ensure that there is a superior court order. It is not about taking sides.
“If in the next one hour or two, we get another court order, we will take action. We are there for every Nigerian but when you are the first responder, you have to take action, you have to be proactive.”
It would be recalled that the Rivers State Police command had later on Tuesday, issued a statement, signed by the Police Public Relations Officer, Omoni Nnamdi, confirming the readiness of officers and men of the command to provide adequate security and protect delegates to the convention in line with the order of a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, last week.
However, following the twist of events, party leaders in separate goodwill messages at the National Convention, condemned the Federal Government for entrenching political impunity, arguing that it was a huge threat to the country’s democracy.
In his acceptance speech, Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, assured that the committee will continue to forge ahead with efforts to reposition the party for future political contests.
He condemned the invasion of the earlier venue of the National Convention, pointing out that it was undemocratic for the security agencies to take such action illegally.
Also speaking, Chairman of the National Convention Planning Committee, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated that the PDP will always survive all obstacles because the people are showing love and support for the party.
The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu also said the suffering in the country has forced the people to begin to crave for the PDP to return.
Former Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, added that the PDP was the choice of all Nigerians because it was a democratic and inclusive party.
Other leaders, who condemned the action of the security agencies during the National Convention, include the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko and former Minister of External Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi.
A delegate from Anambra State, Chief Ugochukwu Okeke, said the decision was a step in the right direction aimed at moving the party forward.
“We will continue to explore all avenues to bring peace to the PDP, and remain a very viable opposition,” he said.
Another delegate, Mr Obi Kachi, said that the party decided to relocate to its secretariat on Aba Road for a non-elective convention because it respects the rule of law and abides by its constitution.
“We support the tenure extension because it is a good decision taken by our members to keep the party going,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District, Ben Murray-Bruce, has said that the only way to achieve peace in the PDP is through dialogue.
Murray-Bruce, therefore, urged the Senator Ahmed Makarfi and the Ali Modu Sheriff-led factions to show maturity and initiate dialogue in the interest of the party.
Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court, Abuja had ordered the stoppage of the Convention while another Federal High Court in Port Harcourt gave a nod to the National Convention.
While the Makarfi-led faction had Tuesday approached the Appeal Court to give vent to its course, the Sheriff-led faction called on the Chief Justice of Federation to intervene in the rulings.
Meanwhile, the National Caretaker Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi has inaugurated the National Executive Committee (NEC), with a tacit charge on members to work towards peaceful reconciliation and build a formidable party capable of wresting power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.
Performing the inauguration at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, Makarfi said that the National Executive Committee include the PDP governors, National Assembly Caucus, Board of Trustees, National Caucus, 36 state PDP chairmen and the 13-member national officers of the party.
He said that in the absence of the elected national officers, the National Caretaker Committee members will be part of NEC.
Makarfi further said that the National Caretaker Committee members would cease to be NEC members once national officers have been elected at a National Convention.
At the meeting were PDP governors, members of National Assembly Caucus, Board of Trustees, National Caucus, 36 state PDP chairmen, and National Caretaker Committee members of the party.
The meeting later went into a closed door session, and journalists were not allowed to observe the proceedings.
Court Orders FG To Pay Rivers $1,114,551,610; A’Ibom $2,258,411,586
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Hon. Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo has ordered the Federal Government to pay Rivers State $1,114,551,610.00 and Akwa Ibom State $2,258,411,586.00, respectively.
The money is entitlements of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, based on the subsisting decision of the Supreme Court over production sharing contracts arising from the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts.
Taiwo delivered the judgment in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/174/2021filed by the Attorney General of Rivers State and Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State against the Attorney General of the Federation.
It would be recalled that in 2016, Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states, through their Attorneys-General, had sued the Federal Government, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation at the Supreme Court in Suit No: SC.964/2016, seeking a declaration that there is a statutory obligation imposed on the Defendant (the Federal Government) pursuant to Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore Inland Basin Production Sharing Act, Cap.D3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, to adjust the share of the Federation in the additional revenue accruing under the Production Sharing Contracts if the price of crude oil at any time exceeds $20.00 per barrel.
The states had asked the court to declare that the failure of the Defendant to accordingly adjust the share of the Government of the Federation in the additional revenue in the Production Sharing Contracts (variously approved by the Defendant) following the increase of price of crude oil in excess of 20.00 per barrel in real terms, constitute a breach of the said Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, and has therefore, affected the total revenue accruing to the Federation, and consequently, the total statutory allocation accruing to the Plaintiffs by virtue of the provisions of Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
The three oil producing states further prayed the court to issue a consequential order compelling the Defendant to adjust the share of the Government of the Federation in the additional revenue under all the Production Sharing Contracts in Nigeria’s oil industry within the Inland Water Basin Deep Offshore areas as approved by the Defendant from the respective times the price of crude oil exceeded $20.00 per barrel in real terms and to calculate in arrears with effect from August, 2003, and recover and pay immediately all outstanding statutory allocations due and payable to the Plaintiffs arising from the said adjustments.
It would be recalled that at the Supreme Court, the Attorney-General of the Federation opted for an out of court settlement, and consequently, terms of settlement were duly drawn up by the parties and entered as the judgment of the court.
The judgment specifically stated that the reliefs in the amended Originating Summons relating to the larger interest of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the entire citizenry of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be diligently implemented.
It was also agreed that the Attorney General of the Federation, working jointly with the Plaintiffs should undertake to immediately set up a body and the necessary mechanism for recovery of all lost revenue accruing to the Federation Account in the past and up till the date of full recovery and accruing in future or an acceptable instalmental payments thereof within 90 days next from the date of execution of these presents or its being made judgment of the court.
Following the judgment of the Supreme Court and in compliance therewith the Attorney General of the Federation, the Defendant, constituted a body to determine the respective liabilities including the amount due to oil mineral producing states as derivation proceeds.
The report of that body stated among others that Rivers and Akwa Ibom states were entitled to $1,114,551,610.00 and $2,258,411,586.00, respectively, as derivation proceeds.
However, Attorney General of the Federation, without recourse to the governments of Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, unilaterally claimed to have settled with International Oil Companies (IOCs).
It was gathered that this unilateral action on the part of the Attorney General of the Federation as the Defendant in the judgment of the Supreme Court that led Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, to fill the suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Based on the suit filed by the state, the Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Taiwo Taiwo, declared that Rivers and Akwa Ibom states were entitled to $1,114,551,610.00 and $2,258,411,586.00, respectively, as derivation proceeds.
The court also awarded a post judgment interest of 10 per cent in favour of the Plaintiffs until the final liquidation of the judgment.
Declare State Of Emergency On National Assets, Experts Tell Buhari
Against the backdrop of challenges facing national assets across the country, the Association of Facilities Management Practitioners of Nigeria (AFMPN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to declare state of emergency on public infrastructure.
The call was made by AFMPN President, Collins Osayamwen, in an interview with newsmen, while speaking on the new vista his leadership has opened for the association to play a strategic and critical role as a professional body charged with the responsibility of maintaining and managing public infrastructure if the bill at the National Assembly was passed into law and assented to by Buhari in order for Nigerians to enjoy public assets.
However, Osayamwen pointed out that public infrastructure has not been given the desired attention over the years as a result of not giving recognition to professional facilities managers who government needs to collaborate with to maintain critical national assets worth billions of Naira.
He said, “It is evidently clear that our public infrastructure is in a state of emergency and the government needs to declare a state of emergency in order to rescue our public infrastructure from total collapse.
“The reason for lack of maintenance of our infrastructure is not far-fetched.
“It is because, in Nigeria, the profession that is saddled with the responsibility of looking after the built environment does not exist in the list of professionals that constitute the building team.
“We are seriously concerned about the deplorable state and deficit of public infrastructure in Nigeria. In 2012, the Infrastructure Council of Regulatory Commission (ICRC), alluded that $12billion to $15billion was required annually for the next five to six years to bridge the infrastructure deficit gaps in Nigeria.
“It is worthy of note that if these figures are anything to go by, the situation should have become worse by now, nine years later.”
He also explained that in the built environment, architects are responsible for conceptualisation, design and supervision of the project; the Structural, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers and even the IT engineers are responsible for design and construction of the building systems; the building engineer carries out the physical construction of the building.
“Now, let’s examine the role of these professionals. They all perform a certain function and they leave the site once their assignment is completed. Not even one of the professions listed above is trained to look after the building. Once the building is commissioned, they all leave the site for a new project.
“Unfortunately, all the activities carried out in the building up till the stage of completion is less than 20 per cent of the life cycle cost.
“The remaining on-going activities and cost of over 80 per cent is operations and maintenance cost and activities.
“This critical stage in a building life cycle is often neglected, hence, the poor state of our infrastructure. I cannot overemphasize the role of the facilities management practitioners in managing our built environment,” he stated.
According to him, the main reason Nigeria has not been able to maintain her infrastructure is because “the profession responsible for maintenance is not yet recognised for its strategic role in Nigeria as a profession and Facility Management profession is not recognised as a member of the built environment practitioners.
“Maintenance starts from the design stage of a facility. It requires painstaking planning, scheduling, budgeting, sustainable programme management and implementation of maintenance technologies, and others.
“It takes more than culture to effectively and efficiently maintain a facility. It requires time, money, and experience to maintain infrastructure,” he added.
Flood Ravages NASS As Senate Confirms New COAS
There was a downpour in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, yesterday morning, leaving several parts of the National Assembly Complex flooded.
The central lobby at the ‘White House’ section of the building, which adjoins the Senate and House of Representatives chambers, was flooded.
Other areas affected include the third and last gate to the premises as well as the road linking the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the National Assembly.
The Senate had resumed plenary, yesterday, while the House is to resume on June 28, 2021, as the National Assembly returns from a mid-term break.
At the lobby, workers of the two private firms engaged for cleaning services at the complex were busy mopping the floor while it rained.
Water could be seen dropping from several points on the famous green roof.
Some senators watched as the workers struggle to keep the floor dry.
During the plenary, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Maj-Gen Farouk Yahaya as the new Chief of Army Staff.
The Red Chamber took the decision after the consideration of the report of its Joint Committee on Defence and Army led by Senators Aliyu Wamakko and Ali Ndume.
Earlier, the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, had on June 2, referred the request of President Muhammadu Buhari for Yahaya’s confirmation to the committee.
The Defence Committee, which is chaired by Wamakko, was mandated to be the lead panel to screen the newly appointed Army chief.
Yahaya was appointed to replace Lt-Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, who died in a plane crash with 10 other military officers while on an official trip to Kaduna State, last month.
Until his appointment, Yayaha was the Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East.
Meanwhile, at the House, the downpour delayed legislative activities as several committees which had scheduled the meetings and hearings for the morning were forced to delay the events, as several workers and guests were said to have been trapped in their vehicles.
For instance, the House Committee on Disabilities, which was to begin an investigative hearing on ‘The Need to Investigate the Alleged Violation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria and Private Airline Operators’ at 11am had to commence the event at about 12:15pm.
Also, the House Committees on Communications; Justice; Information and Culture; and National Security and Intelligence, which were to hold an investigative hearing on the recent ban placed on Twitter by the Federal Government shifted the event from 10am to 1pm.
By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
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