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‘No Constitutional Provision For Independent Candidacy’

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Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano), says the Electoral Act Amendment Bill before the National Assembly will not accommodate independent candidacy because it has no constitutional backing.
Gaya, also Chairman, Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said this while fielding questions at a forum in Abuja.
According to him, since the clause is not part of Nigerian Constitution, there is no way the proposal can form part of the bill.
“A lot of views have been expressed in the report on the Electoral Act amendment bill. Some are talking about the independent candidacy of which we say we cannot do that.
“This is because the independent candidacy is still not in the constitution and the Electoral Act is inferior to the Constitution so we cannot have another law which supersedes the constitution,” he said.
He explained that unless the constitution was amended, the Electoral Act will not be able to adopt provisions for independent candidacy.
He also assured that the National Assembly would submit the Electoral Act  Amendment Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent before the end of February.
“We are doing the Electoral Act, we have virtually completed work. What we are supposed to do at this stage is to bring it to the floor of the Senate for consideration and also the floor of the House of Reps for consideration.
“We are doing a joint hearing made up of the Senate and the House, so that we can fast track work and also reduce the issue of having so many differences in the bill”, he said.
“If we are working together with the house, it means the bill will be one. The house bill and the Senate bill will be one. There will be no need to go for concurrence.
“I believe Nigerians will be happy with the Electoral Act 2021, which hopefully before the end of this month, will leave the chambers of national assembly to Mr President for his assent.
“As we have promised that within the first quarter of 2021 the bill be signed, we hope and pray that it will be signed and it will enhance democratic progress in the country,” he said.
Gaya said that the committee was doing its best to ensure an electoral act that would guarantee free, fair and credible elections in the country.
“Whatever we need to do to improve the elections, the quality of our elections, we will continue to do that.
“I wish to thank the leadership of the Senate and the Speaker of House of Representatives for encouraging us to make sure that we fast track work on this issue of Electoral Act.
“People must have free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria and therefore we have to amend the Electoral Act, the law that will allow us achieve success in election; free, fair and credible,” he said.(

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Ex-APC National Chairman Tasks Party On Responsive Leadership

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Chief John Odigie-oyegun, former National Chairman, All Progressives Congress APC), has charged the party’s leaders to be more progressive and responsive to the people.
He said this at the public presentation of a book”APC’S Litmus Test, Nigerian Democracy and Politics of Change”, written by Dr Salihu Lukman, Director-General, Progressives Congress Forum (PGF) in Abuja, yesterday.
“We are in charge today, a progressive government, a progressive regime, and I think it is proper that we show to the nation that when the people want some degree of change, “we should be responsive to it, we should address it, compromises have to be made, there’s no question about that,” Odigie-Oyegun said.
He added that the APC document on true federalism was still being worked upon before its release.
Odigie-Oyegun said the ideas of people from different parts of the country would be different up to the extent that they would want to go with the proposals in the document.
He said it was however, necessary, vital and mandatory in the interest of the survival of the country that issues regarding federalism were addressed.
“We cannot continue to allow the subject to become something that threatens our nation at any turn.
“So, the earlier we address it, the earlier we show that as a party we are responsive to the feelings of the people, the desires of the people and the wants of the people.
“It becomes easier then, to diffuse the kind of stresses that the nation is passing through today,”Odigie-Oyegun said.
He added that for those at the formation of the APC, the uniqueness of its Constitution and its manifesto promised change was meant by all members with their hearts and beings.
He said unfortunately, the forces of economics had made things not quite the way it was planned.
The APC former national chairman said there was need for the party members to do everything possible to keep it not just alive but very virile.
He added that in spite of general belief, the APC was one party that had put together things that meant hope for the country.
He said the fact that things were bad and people were angry and hungry was not questionable, saying that these were worldwide phenomenon.
Odigie-Oyegun decried the current security challenge in the country.
“It is my hope that we will begin to get control of the security of this nation,” he said.

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PDP Rep Harps On Justice, Dialogue To Secure Nigeria

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), House of Representatives member has enjoined Nigerian leaders to tow the path of justice, equity, dialogue, and rule of law in the country.
Rep. Toby Okechukwu, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, said this in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja to commemorate the Democracy Day
He added that such path would help to arrest worsening insecurity and arrest separatist agitations across the country.
Okechukwu said that opportunities still abound in preserving the nation’s democracy and reconstruct the union to a more workable piece.
He said that June 12 was designated Democracy Day in honour of a symbol of the nation’s democratic struggles, the late Chief MKO Abiola.
He added that Abiola was unjustly denied the opportunity to exercise an overwhelmingly popular mandate handed him by the Nigerian people on June 12 1993, but only to be celebrated at death.
“The greatest debt the governments and leaders of Nigeria owe every part of this country and every Nigerian is a sense of justice and equity according to the letters and spirit of our constitution.
“The golden rule of justice is to do unto others as you would have them to unto you,” he said.
 He called on the Federal Government to take conscious steps to do things that would promote national unity and earn it loyalty.
He also called on leaders to be proactive in creating a clement environment for peace to reign to arrest the present security challenges in the country.
Okechukwu commended the leaders of the South East and the Federal Government for the June 11, dialogue in Enugu to deescalate tension in the region.
He stated that it was a right step that should be sustained and replicated nationwide, while wishing Nigerians a happy Democracy Day.

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Democracy Day: PDP Lawmakers Wants Observance Of Rule Of Law

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has called for strict observance of the rule of law to improve democratic practice in the country.
The caucus made the call  in a statement by its Leader, Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) last Saturday in Abuja.
Chinda called for an environment that would guarantee freedom of speech and standard operations for the fourth estate of the realm.
The lawmaker  stressed the need to place greater value on Nigerian lives and for decisive and pragmatic steps to end the avoidable deaths in the country.
He called on the government to restrain the Police and other security agencies from further unleashing violence on unarmed youths and other peaceful protesters.
“They choose to go out and exercise their rights in commemoration of  Democracy Day.
“June 12 is a symbol of democratic freedom and supremacy of the people’s power and should be respected by ensuring that all the tenets of democracy are adhered to in all ramifications.
“June 12 is not only about introspection, it is about renewing the commitments of all to the growth of democracy in our dear county.
“It is about ensuring that our country is never again enveloped by darkness, hemmed to the abyss by the sinister forces that threaten our collective rights and freedoms,” he said.
Chinda urged all Nigerians to hold on to democratic principles in spite of the challenges facing the country saying that “good will triumph over evil.”

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