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Mixed Reactions Trail Senate Move To Stop Party Funding

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Mixed reactions trail the proposal by the Senate to terminate grants given to registered political parties by the Federal Government, according to a survey. .

  The plan generated comments from politicians, political groups and other stakeholders throughout the country.

 A cross section of those interviewed by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) either supported the plan or rejected it outrightly  while some called for its modification.

Alhaji Ali Kyari, a PDP chieftain in Yobe, said:  “Some of the political parties are not physically on ground and have been feeding on the funding for different purposes”.

He said there would be more commitment when members invested in the parties.

“Personally, I support the proposal as this will check proliferation of parties in the country.”

In Maiduguri, Alhaji Abba Kale, the National Vice President of the Africa Liberation Party (ALP) told NAN that the Senate plan was laudable.

‘Well the Senate plans has both negative as well as a positive consequence. That means that it is good in one way and bad in the other.

“What I am trying to say is that some parties with wide spread presence actually require the annual grant to take care of certain things,” Kale said.

He said rather than stop the grant entirely the Senate should modify the funding in such a way that only parties with wide spread would benefit.

“The annual grant should be given based on performance of the political parties.

 Mr Ayuba Bello the Borno Chairman of the Conference of Political Parties disagreed with Kale.

“I don’t think there is any basis for the Senate planned stoppage because funding of parties is not peculiar to Nigeria. The annual grant has helped in many ways

to stabilise the parties,’’ Bello said.

He pointed out that the practice of funding parties existed even in countries with advanced democracy like the U.S. because it help to sustain them.

“We should try and copy from advanced countries of Europe who still assist parties with grant to sustain them,” Bello said.

In Nsukka (Enugu State) Some of the people interviewed see the stoppage as a move to cripple party activities while others say it is a welcome development.  Pastor Emeka Abugu, Chairman, PDP Igboeze-North, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the move should be dropped as it would cripple political party activities and starve them of funds.   “If the proposal sells through political parties will be starved of funds to run their affairs.   “Money Bags will bring their money to fund parties and convert them to a personal business since he who pays the piper dictates the tune. Nigeria democracy is too young for such decision that will place political parties at the mercy of wealthy politicians.   “Internal party democracy will be destroyed,” he said.   Mr Timothy Ugwueze, ANPP Chieftain, said that if the proposal was approved it would only favour the ruling party hence it would indirectly be using government money to fund the party.   “It decision will kill parties that have no access to government money. It will destroy parties that will serve opposition to ruling party. For the interest of our nascent democracy, that idea should be dropped for now,” he said.   Mr  A chieftain of ANPP in Zamfara, Alhaji Ibrahim Wakala has declared support for the bill before the National Assembly, seeking INEC’s withdrawal from funding of political parties in the country.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill, which scaled through the crucial second reading at the Senate chamber on Wednesday, is committed to public hearing for broader views before passage into law.Wakala, while reacting on the bill told NAN in Gusau on Thursday that “there is no problem with such bill so long as anti- corruption agencies will strictly monitor finances of the parties“.The chieftain, who is the Zamfara ANPP Vice Chairman, noted that “allowing the political parties to fund themselves would encourage politics of ideology and systematically trim down the number of political parties in the country to a reasonable number“He said that “when political parties are funded from within, genuine and credible membership that is committed to the progress of the party will emerge“.Wakala however expressed fears that “a situation where ruling parties would be funded with public resources at the expense of the opposition parties would pose serious threat to democracy in the country“.“We must not deceive ourselves, there must be a level playing ground where political parties are strictly funded from membership not government resources“. In Bauchi, the CNPP, LP and Justice Party (JP) described the decision to stop government funding of political parties as “undemocratic”.Alhaji Abdullahi Idris, Malam Safiyanu Maisalati and Alhaji Magaji Tungal, Bauchi State Chairmen of CNPP, JP and LP said the action was inimical to the growth of democratic culture in the country.The chairmen told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews that the action would encourage corruption.”It is sending a bad signal to the nation’s democratic process. This will encourage money politics and destroy political ideology.”Looking at the economic and political nature of the country, there is need for the government to maintain funding of the parties adequate to sustain a durable and workable democracy. In Birnin Kebbi, the Kebbi Chairman of Congress for Political Change,  CPC, Alhaji Musa Danmaliki,called for the retention of financial grants to political parties,”with stringent modification”.  Danmaliki said that to expunge the law granting financial support to political parties by government entirely was counter productive, but introduction of stringent measures were preferable. He said he was in support of the reduction of political parties, adding that “some of the parties have functional offices only in Abuja where their leaders wait for the annual grant for sharing by a few”. He called for the registration of parties with national outlook , adding: “the parties should be expected to have functional offices at the state, local council area and ward levels to qualify for such grants”. 

In Umuahia,   Mr Emeka Nwachukwu, Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, Abia chapter, hailed the proposed termination of grants to political parties.    Nwachukwu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the system where political parties were funded by government was an aberration and abuse of democratic norms.    He said that such practice had bastardised the political environment “because many parties only exist as a result of the money they receive from government through INEC and they are not contributing anything to the development of the nation.    “Some of these parties do not even have a national party office in the real sense of it,” he said.    Nwachukwu said that that it had become imperative for the number of political parties in the country to be reduced to ensure an effective and competitive political landscape.    “The agitation for the reduction in the number of political parties is in the best interest of the nation because it will enthrone a healthier competitive environment and a stronger opposition.    “In my view, I will recommend for a three party system and once this is announced all these smaller parties will be forced to collapse into the more vibrant ones,” Nwachukwu said.  In  Abakaliki, Okeosisi Inyaeburu, Chairman Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) Ebonyi branch, has condemned plan to stop grants to political parties.   Inyaeburu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the decision would adversely affect operations of political parties in the country.   “It is surprising that the decision was contemplated by government that is professing a desire for electoral reforms. “This development will weaken the operations of political parties, especially the opposition parties to PDP as they will not be able to meet their obligations to themselves and the people,” he said.   Ebonyi in said the stoppage of the grant was a ploy to impoverish the opposition  “This development will enable the PDP, which had amassed stupendous wealth from the present government to explore all avenues of perpetuating themselves in power to the detriment of Nigerians.   “Stoppage of this grant will eliminate all forms of opposition in the country as almost all political office holders in the country are PDP members who make returns from their involvement in government to the party,” he said.   (NAN) Friday in Yola during a telephone interview that the move was undemocratic as it would extinct other powerless political parties.He said that it was compulsory for the government to fund the political parties because they were  part of government organs. In Gombe, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports while some people were in support of the move, others called for caution.   Inuwa Garba, Deputy Speaker of Gombe House of Assembly, observed that some political parties were just created for the purpose of collecting the grant and then ‘disappearing into the oblivion’.   Yola, also supported the idea of terminating the grant.   “I am in support of withdrawing the grant because most of the political parties are fictitious and do not represent the people.   “They just sprang up for the purposes of grabbing the funds. I will suggest that if the grant is to remain, government should establish two parties like was done in the past, and whoever is not interested in registering with them can contest as an independent candidate”, he proposed.   But Mr Ado Solomon, Gombe State Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), called for caution in taking a decision on the matter.     Jacob Lawan, PDP Legal Adviser in Gombe, was also against the withdrawal of the grant, saying such a measure, if taken, will have some repercussions.   “At this stage of our still nascent democracy, political parties need to be nurtured and catered for, in order for Nigeria to reach the Promised Land politically.   “To think of withdrawing whatever assistance they get now is too early and could result in grave consequences,’’ he warned   In Katsina, PDP stalwart and former Kaduna state governor, Alhaji Lawal Kaita  kicked against the proposed removal of grants to political parties in the country.   Kaita who spoke to NAN in Katsina through a telephone call said, “grants to political parties should be maintained because such grants do help the parties.”   He however suggested that instead of removing the grants, INEC reduce the political parties to three or four in the country.   According to him, some of the political were there only for grants, hence the need to trim them, so that the grants were maintained for the remaining few parties.   Also a prominent politician in the state, Dr Mustapha Inuwa said, “right from the beginning the grants are not helping larger parties as they are not enough, while the small parties exist only because of the grants.”   Inuwa who is a former secretary to Katsina state government (SSG), however said that INEC should work out a cateria for the party coverage before giving out grant to any political party or abolish the grant completely.   He also said, “if at all INEC wants to give the grants, it should reduce the political parties’’. (NAN)Reporters/HKOAll Sufferings in the country are due to human errors-Atiku NAN-H-19AtikuJada (Adamawa), May 16, 2010 (NAN) Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said that the sufferings being experienced by Nigerian masses were as a result of human errors.He made this remark on Saturday in Jada, headquarters of Jada Local Government Area of Adamawa, while addressing party faithfuls from Ganye Chiefdom which comprised Jada and Ganye council areas.He said most of the problems bedevilling the country were caused by human errors, “deliberately done by politicians through the imposition of leaders on the electorate’’.

Abuja, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is not influenced by the presidency before deciding on which case to investigate or take to court. This was contained in a statement signed by Mr. Femi Babafemi, Head of Media and Publicity of the Commission and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday. It said the clarification became necessary following persistent insinuations in the media that the anti-graft agency had come under pressure from the presidency to prevent investigations or trial of some people believed to be close to government. “We wish to state emphatically that these insinuations are mere fabrications that have no root in reality.

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Yiaga Africa Blames Govt For Voters’ Apathy

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Independent election observer group, Yiaga Africa, has expressed worry that increasing voters’ apathy as witnessed in the Anambra governorship election may not have been caused by insecurity but increasing loss of confidence in government.
A board member of the group, Ezenwa Nwagwu held the view in Awka during a post-election reflection meeting with leaders of Civil Society Organizations.
Nwagwu reiterated that the ugly trend was not necessarily occasioned by insecurity that had always heralded elections in the past, but growing disconnect between the government and the masses, saying it is time populace held government to account to bridge the gap.
He said: “Election is over. Now we have to watch governance and the only way to do that is to clearly design pathways through which we can hold the government accountable.
“One of the ways is for the citizens to engage the government with budget process. Government every year estimates what it uses the people’s resources to do for them.
“Unfortunately, the people involved don’t show any interest, and four years later, the same people will start complaining that government has failed, even when there was nothing to track.
“We need to see how the Media and Civil Society groups can collaborate and produce what I call a citizen charter demand that they can hand over to the new Governor-elect.
“They can liaise with other professional bodies to conduct infrastructural assessment in the state and use that as a document to organize a town-hall meeting to engage government officials.”
Nwagwu also identified what he termed “fear and complaint industries” as major impediments to the growth and development of the state, insisting that the two factors must be shut to enable people of the state enjoy democracy dividends.
He added: “We need to close up the two industries of fear and complaint that have gripped the state, especially after the election so people can leverage the benefits of governance.
“If we continue with this scare-mongering and complaints, we will only succeed in having few persons taking over the government and dictating the pace.”

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CVR: Fresh Registrations Hit 4.2m

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said that fresh registration in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) has hit 4,297,494.
The commission disclosed this in the second quarter, week seven, weekly update released by the commission in Abuja recently.
The commission said that as at 7 a.m. on Monday, November 22, 1,856,771 persons have completed their online and physical registration.
According to statistics provided by the commission, 1,856,771 persons who completed their registration, include 941,098 males, 915,673 females.
It also added that 741,183 persons completed their registration online, while 1,115,588 completed it through physical registration.

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Saraki Visits Benue Over Presidential Ambition 

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A former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has visited Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over his ambition to vie for President in 2023.
Saraki, after a close door meeting with Governor Ortom, also met with the State Working Committee members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to familiarise them with his intention to kick start consultations for his ambition to rule the country.
He said that the nationwide defection of party loyalists from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP was an indication that there might not be anyone left in the party before the next election.
“A party that cannot organise its affairs has no business leading this country. A party that has organised its affairs is ready in leading this country and that is the PDP,” he said.
Saraki added that the North Central Zone has paid its dues by working so hard in keeping the country together as one united entity just as he pointed out that, “this time we must stand for our own and charity begins at home.”
The ex -senate president, who was accompanied on the visit by former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, former National Chairman of the PDP, Kawu Baraje, Senator Suleiman Adokwe and Prof Iyorwuese Hagher, Chairman of Council, Saraki for President Campaign, thanked the Benue governor for standing out for the zone.
Earlier, Governor Ortom, eulogised Saraki for being one of those Nigerians that had contributed immensely to the development of democracy.
Ortom said it was time to rescue the country from bottom, a position it was placed by the APC government, to the top, adding that Saraki deserves the presidential seat to enable him salvage the country from its current mess.
On his part, the State Chairman of the PDP, Sir John Ngbede, represented by his deputy, Isaac Mfo, said the party in the state had remained intact even as he assured the presidential hopeful that they would back his ambition to rule the country.

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