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Reps Pass S’East, S’West, N’Central, N’West Commission Bills

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The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed bills seeking to establish a South-East Development Commission and a South-West Development Commission.
Equally passed were bills to establish a North-Central Development Commission and a North-West Development Commission.
The SEDC proposal is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish the South-East Development Commission to serve as a Catalyst to Develop the Commercial Potentials of the South East, Receive and Manage Funds from Allocation of the Federation for the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reparation for Houses and Lost Businesses of Victims of the Civil War, and Address any other Environmental or Developmental Challenges; and for Related Matters.’
The SWDC proposal is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish South–West Development Commission charged with Responsibility, among others, to Receive and Manage Funds from Allocation of the Federation Account, including Donations and Gifts, the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Roads, Houses and other Infrastructural Damages Suffered by the Region and the Need to Tackle the Ecological Problems and any other Related Environmental or Developmental Challenges in the South-West States; and for Related Matters.’
The NCDC proposal is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish North-Central Development Commission charged with Responsibility among other things to Receive and Manage Funds from Allocation of the Federation Account for the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Roads, Houses and Other Infrastructural damages suffered by the Region as a result of the effects of the Communal Crisis as well as tackle the Ecological Problems and any other Related Environmental or Developmental Challenges in the North-Central States; and for Related Matters.’
The NWDC proposal is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish North–West Development Commission charged with the responsibility, among other things, to receive and Manage Fund from Allocation of the Federation Account and International Donors for the Settlement, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Roads, Houses and Business Premises Destroyed by Multinational Crisis as well as Tackling Menace of Poverty, Literacy Level, Ecological Problems and any other Related Environmental or Developmental of Challenge in the North-West State; and for Related Matters.’
All the six geopolitical zones will now have development commissions, as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) already exists for the oil-producing states in the South-South and some in the South-East and South-West.
There is also the North-East Development Commission, which was established in the aftermath of Boko Haram insurgency in the geopolitical zone.
Speaker of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, and 80 other lawmakers suspected to be members from Yoruba-speaking states, introduced a bill seeking to establish a South-West Development Commission.
The South-West Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2019 passed the first reading at the plenary on December 11, 2019.
The South-West geopolitical zone has six states, namely Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti.
Later on December 17, 2019, the lawmaker representing Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency of Imo State, Hon Henry Nwawuba, introduced the South-East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2019, which passed the first reading.
The South-East zone has five states, namely Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi.
In the South-South, there are six states, namely Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and Bayelsa.
Later on December 20, 2019, the South-South Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2019 emerged in the House, sponsored by the lawmaker representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency of River State, Hon Awaji-Inombek Abiante.
The SSDC would be established despite the existence of the NDDC.
Though the NDDC covers all the states in the South-South, states in other geopolitical zones are under it, namely Ondo (South-West), Abia and Imo (both in the South-East).
Meanwhile, another member, Hon Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, earlier on December 18, 2019, added to the drama by introducing the Zonal Development Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2019 which the House has also admitted.
Similarly, the House of Representatives has insisted on the restriction of political parties to direct primary in the selection of candidates for elective public offices.
Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon Benjamin Kalu, stated that the amendment sought by the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, to the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill, to delete the options of indirect/delegates primary and consensus is a reflection of the yearnings of Nigerians.
Kalu, in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘The Relevance of the Amended Clause 87 of the Electoral Act and the Re-Engineering of the Political Space, a Mileage of Our Democracy,’ listed reasons to justify the amendment.
The statement read, “This statement has become necessary to address the attacks against the leadership and members of the House of Representatives (House) regarding the intervention of the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila during the consideration of Clause 87 of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, which has now been adopted by the Senate.
“Nigeria’s nascent democracy has matured in these 22 years of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. Without a doubt, the people are wiser, more informed, more engaged and yearn for a new political order that empowers them to reject unpopular or incompetent political aspirants.
“A popular yearning of Nigerians in the electoral reform process was the call to discard the delegate-based primary election method in favour of direct primaries.
“Following extensive stakeholder consultations and engagements on electoral reforms, it is clear to the leadership of the House that the delegate-based primary election method is not only unpopular, but is inefficient in producing credible candidates.”
It further read, “Indirect primaries have enabled godfatherism and the corruption attendant to this twisted form of aristocratic democracy. They have created a system where unpopular political candidates rely on buying delegates to vote them or their cronies at party primaries. This is antithetical to the aim of a diligent primary election which is to choose credible candidates that would most likely be acceptable to the electorates.
“Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila’s contribution to the amendment of Clause 87 of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill is reflective of the agitations of the people.
“The House wishes to remind all political players that direct primary is in the best interest of our democratic advancement as a nation. The conduct of party elections by direct primary remains the most transparent mode of nominating a candidate in any election.
“It marks a true return of power to the people. It is more participatory, creating a level playing ground for all aspirants and allowing the emergence of popular candidates. Direct primaries will increase the participation of women and youth in the political process. It will help check godfatherism, enhance intra-party democracy and reduce the commercialisation of elections in Nigeria.”
Kalu stated that the House was pleased that the Senate had agreed with its position on direct primary as well as the electronic transmission of election results.
“The harmonization of both chambers of the National Assembly on these issues is a clear indication of the maturing of our democracy,” he said.

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CAN Accuses El-Rufai Of Hidden Agenda

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The Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused Governor Nasir El-Rufai of engaging in politics with civil servants and residents of the state.
This was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by the state chairman of CAN, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, in the aftermath of the pronouncement of a four-day work week by the governor.
El-Rufai had said the state government would begin implementing the transitional arrangement in the public service starting from December 1, 2021.
However, the CAN Chairman urged caution, stating that the citizens of the state had been subjected to pains by this government through some of its unpopular policies.
He advised civil servants in the state not to celebrate the policy yet until they were convinced that there was no hidden agenda behind it.
“Workers must be sure that the policy is not aimed at reducing their salaries.
“They must be convinced that the government will not wake up one day with another shocking news of salary reduction since the five working days have been reduced to four.”
“How can a state that is not secured talk about giving workers time for agriculture and be with family when bandits move about freely, terrorising people in their homes, on the farms, and on the highways!
“How can one spend time with family when you have nothing to feed them or provide for their basic needs?” he said.

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Meagre Allocation Stalls Adamawa LG Polls

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The Adamawa State Independent Electoral Commission (ADSIEC) has postponed the December 4 local government council polls indefinitely due to  lack of funds.
ADSIEC Information Officer, Innocent Daniel, said on Monday that the commission was awaiting funds from the government to conduct a free, fair and transparent election.
“Among the major challenges that led to the postponement of the election was the meagre allocation to the commission in the state’s 2021 budget.
“The allocation is too meagre for the commission to organise and conduct the election.
“Also, the re-usable election materials such as ballot boxes, duty vests, bags and kits were completely vandalised during the #Endsars protest,” he said.
The Information officer said that the commission was also faced with the problem of handling the new polling units that were converted from voting points by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said that the conversion had raised the polling units in the state from 2,609 to 4,104.
“This development will lead to an increase in facilities and ad hoc staff. The ongoing registration of new voters will also have a resultant increase in ballot paper requirements.
“It is in this regard that the preparations for the local government council election for December 4, is hereby suspended to give the government time to source for funds,” Mr Daniel said.

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2023: Northern Youths Urge Old Politicians To Steer Clear

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Politicians above 60 years of age have been urged to stay away from the presidential race come 2023.
The appeal was made by the leadership of the Concerned Northern Youth Forum (CNYF) in Kaduna yesterday.
They argued that in developed nations, people of that age and experience were mostly engaged in charitable activities, free consultancy services and other forms of selfless services.
The spokesman of the group, Comrade Abdulsalam Moh’d Kazeem, called on youths to take advantage of the “not too young to rule”  to participate actively in the political arena.
Also, a north-based group has tasked Nigerian youths to join politics to free the country of bad governance.
Coordinator of the group, National Youth Movement for Good Governance, Nasiru Aliyu, who disclosed this at a news briefing in Kaduna, said Nigeria requires young hands that can work assiduously to address its developmental challenges.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders in the North Central zone and bigwigs of the PDP in the region, have thrown their weight behind the candidature of Bukola Saraki in the 2023 presidency.
The group, led by Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, stated this on Monday during the advocacy committee meeting for Saraki with party members and delegations from across the zone at the Nasarawa State party secretariat in Lafia.
An associate of Saraki, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, urged the party to consider Saraki as its presidential candidate for 2023 to salvage the country from total collapse.
Also, the campaign team of a former presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday met with the party’s officials and stakeholders from the three senatorial districts of Benue State over the 2023 general elections.
The leader of the team, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, said they were in Benue as forerunners of Atiku to consult with the elders of the PDP in the state and ask them for support for their principal who will be contesting the presidential poll in 2023.
Similarly, a support group, Tinubu Legacy Forum (TLF), has said the national leader of the ruling APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is not too old to contest the presidency.
While 69-year-old Tinubu has not formally declared his presidential interest, his recent visitations and series of support groups, rooting for him, show his interest in contesting the 2023 presidency, probably under the APC.
Addressing newsmen on Monday in Abuja, the Coordinator, TLF, FCT Chapter, Barrister Abdullahi Awwal Muhammad, said Tinubu was not too old to contest for the presidency.
In Lagos, a Yoruba group yesterday endorsed the former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha as the next president. The group, under the aegis of Oduduwa Sons and Daughters for Equity and Justice, declared that the Yoruba people have decided to support a South-Easterner as successor to President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

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