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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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2023: Court Fines Abiola For Late Filing Of Documents

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The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has awarded a fine against Kola Abiola, the presidential candidate, People’s Redemption Party (PRP), over failure to file his court documents within time.
Justice Fadima Aminu, in a ruling, also fined the PRP over its delay in filing its counter affidavit in opposition to the aggrieved presidential aspirant’s amended originating summons.
Ms Aminu had fixed November 25 for a definite hearing in a suit filed by Patience Ndidi Key, a female presidential aspirant in the June 5 primary election conducted by the party.
The judge, who granted the application filed by Ms Key to amend her originating summons on November 18, ordered all parties to file their processes before the next adjourned date and adjourned to Friday for a definite hearing.
Ms Key had, on June 28, sued PRP, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Mr Abiola as first, second and third defendants, respectively.
In her earlier originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1001/2022, Ms Key had challenged the emergence of Mr Abiola as the party’s presidential candidate.
She had prayed the court to nullify the poll that produced Mr Abiola as the PRP’s presidential candidate.
She also prayed for an order setting aside the declaration of Mr Abiola as the winner of the primaries conducted across the country.
Upon resumed hearing in the matter, the plaintiff‘s counsel, Magnus Ihejirika, informed that the matter was adjourned for a definite hearing.
Mr Ihejirika, however, said the defence lawyers were yet to serve on him their counter-affidavits to enable him to respond appropriately.
The lawyer to the first defendant (PRP), Regina Audu, explained that there was network failure on Thursday at the FHC filing office when she tried to file her application.
The lawyer, who said she could only do that on Friday, prayed the court for an adjournment.
Ijeoma Madu, who appeared for Mr Abiola, spoke in the same vein.
But Mr Ihejirlrika described the defence counsel’s act as “a deliberate attempt to stall proceedings in the suit.”
The lawyer, who said the case was filed on June 28, said, “time is of essence in its determination.”
He said by provision of the constitution, the court had only 180 days to dispose of the matter, saying practically now, the court has less than a month to have the case determined
He argued that the defendants were only employing a delay tactic to stall the hearing and determination of the suit.
Mr Ihejirika, who told the court that he comes to the court from Kebbi, said if the court would be inclined to grant the defence application, a cost should be imposed.
He asked for a cost of N200,000.
The defence counsel, who disagreed with him, prayed the court to dismiss the request.
In her ruling, Ms Aminu said an award of cost should not be a punishment but compensation.
The judge, consequently, ordered the PRP (first defendant) and Mr Abiola (third defendant) to pay the sum of N20, 000 each to the plaintiff’s counsel.
She adjourned the matter until December 2 for a definite hearing.

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US Restates Commitment To Free, Credible 2023 Polls In Nigeria

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The United States has reiterated its commitment to free, fair and credible 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
It noted that the elections next year provide a strong opportunity for Nigeria to solidify its place as a democratic leader in Africa.
The United States also charged the press to ensure professionalism and responsibility in the coverage of the polls.
The US Consulate Regional Security Officer, Jim Suor, made the remarks during the closing ceremony of the Lagos edition of the four-city regional election reporting workshops at the weekend.
The workshop is organised by the Embassy of the United States in Nigeria in partnership with West Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA), and Enugu Liberty Society is aimed at strengthening the media’s understanding and appreciation of its responsibility of reporting accurately on elections and the electoral processes.
He said, “The 2023 elections are a pivotal opportunity for Nigeria – Africa’s most populous country and largest economy – to solidify its place as a democratic leader in Africa.
The United States hopes to see an election that is credible, transparent, peaceful and above all that reflects the will of all of the people of Nigeria.
“Peaceful and credible elections are key components of Nigeria’s democratic development. The upcoming 2023 general election provides a channel for the Nigerian people to shape their future and choose a leader who will govern fairly and transparently and ensure access to basic services for all.”
Suor noted that the media was critical in entrenching a strong democracy, not just in Nigeria and Africa as a whole but everywhere in the world.
He further said, “Press freedom and a professional, responsive, and independent media are critical parts of any democracy. We need responsible members of the media to play a role in policy debates, to help the public understand policies and – when needed – to hold leaders accountable for their decisions.
“Recognising the vital importance of a free press and the Fourth Estate to democracy and good governance, we partnered with the West Africa Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA) to help the media appreciate the huge responsibility of reporting accurately on elections and the electoral processes.”
The Enugu Liberty Society also partnered in organising the workshop which has held in Ibadan, Port Harcourt and Lagos, and would be moving to Enugu next week.
The United States representative also urged the media not to relent on its doggedness and courage in holding the government to account.
He added, “Before my arrival in Nigeria two years ago, I had read about the courage and sheer doggedness of the Nigerian press in the dark days of military dictatorship. In my time here, I have seen that you are still the voice of the forgotten. You have not lost your thirst for the truth or your willingness to go wherever a story leads you, thereby contributing to transparency, accountability, and good governance in your country.”
The workshop facilitators were drawn from both within and outside Nigeria and they handled different aspects of what is expected of pre, during and post-election reporting expectations from the media.

 

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Duke Laments State Of Affairs In C’River, Roots For PDP Candidate

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Ex-governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke, has said that he feels sorry for the next governor of the state, as he opined that such individual would be faced with an uphill task of reinventing governance in the state.
He stated this at the inauguration of 1,080-member campaign council of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Calabar on Saturday.
The former governor, who has been saddled with the task of leading the campaign council, noted  that the essence of good governance had been lost in the state in the last eight years.
According to him, “I never bargained to be governor of the state, but was driven by passion and commitment to positively change the fortune of the state, when I eventually became one.”
He said that where he and his team envisioned the state to be by now was not where it was.
“I am worried about development in the state, a whole generation had been lost.
“We know where the state ought to be by now. The plan was that we would have been governing the state without relying on federal allocation by now. The plans were all laid out.
“Whole paradise had been lost. This is certainly not the best of time to govern Cross River State,” he said.
Duke, however, said he was hopeful that the PDP governorship candidate, Sen. Sandy Onor, has what it takes to restore the lost glory of the state.
He stressed that Onor’s past experiences in government had adequately prepared him for the uphill task of reinventing the state.
“As a former Local Government Chairman, Vice Chairman and at a time Chairman of the Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON), in addition to being a former Commissioner for Environment and Agriculture and now a Senator, Sandy has what it takes to right the wrongs.
“I am glad that it is Sandy that will bring back the state that we have lost. I can stake for him because I know who he is,” he stated.
In his remarks, Senator Onor said that the state had lost direction, as everything about the state had been abused and debased.
Earlier in his address, the state party Chairman, Mr Venatius Ikem, called for the support of all party faithful, irrespective of their present status.
Ikem noted that all party members had the responsibility of selling the party’s candidates across the state.

 

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