A former Presidential candidate of National Conscience Party (NCP), Martin Onovo, has said that the nonchalant attitude of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was responsible for the continued agitation for 2023 presidency instead of focusing on governance.
Onovo said that the 2023 presidential election might not hold if no meaningful change was made to the current status quo.
While speaking with newsmen on Wednesday, Onovo predicted that the electoral process would be hijacked and election results manipulated by the ‘cabals’ in the Presidency in 2023 if the current administration still remained in office, then.
“If Buhari is in office in 2023, then 2019 would repeat. If Buhari were out of office then there would be major political adjustments. Did election count in 2019? Was there such high number of registered voters and votes from Borno State presented by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)?” he asked.
While speaking on the need for equity in power rotation in the country, the former presidential candidate maintained that democracy required representation, fairness and justice and that representation at the highest level required that Nigeria zoned the presidency to the South-East, even though he stressed that it was too early to discuss 2023.
He said that the timetable from INEC might not happen until 2022, pointing out that the general situation of lawlessness was caused by the ruling party.
Onovo, however, supported the agitation for the amendment of the constitution, adding that there was no point amending the document if it would not be followed.
“I agree that it should be amended but ether it is amended or not people do not respect the constitution, would they respect the Electoral Act, I mean the cabal?” he querried.
Stressing the importance of justice, equity and representation, which according to him necessitated that every group should be treated fairly, Onovo, pointed out that campaign for the 2023 general election might be too early, but added that since the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1999, there had been a rotation of the presidency between the South and the North, stressing that the arrangement was practised during the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rule, even though not constitutional.
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.
“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.
” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.
He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.
The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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