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2019 Polls: Buhari Rejects Amended Timetable …It’s Our Responsibility To Fix Election Sequence -Senate

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President Muhammadu Buhari has written to both chambers of the National Assembly indicating that he will not sign into law the new 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment), in which the lawmakers introduced a new Sub-Section 25, which rearranged the sequence of the 2019 general elections, placing the National Assembly election first and Presidential election last.
Buhari, in a letter to the two chambers of the National Assembly, read in the Senate and House of Representatives, yesterday, predicated his veto on infractions on constitutional provisions, particularly with regards to the one on new sequence of elections.
The letter titled: “Presidential Decision to Withhold Assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018” reads in part: ‘Pursuant to Section 58(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I hereby convey to the Senate, my decision, on 3rd March, 2018, to decline Presidential Assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly.
“Some of my reasons include the following: (a) The amendment to the sequence of elections in Section 25 of the principal act, may infringe upon the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to organise, undertake and supervise elections provided in Section 15(A) of the third statue to the Constitution;
“(b) The amendment to Section 138 of the principal act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates, unduly limits the rights of candidates in elections to a free and fair electoral review process;
“© The amendment to Section 152 Subsection 325 of the Principal Act may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over local government elections”.
However, the letter was not subjected to debate in the Senate, though there was a closed door session before the plenary.
But briefing journalists after the Senate plenary session, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Publicity and Senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, noted that any action that would be taken by the Senate on Mr President’s letter would come after the adoption of the letter into its votes and proceedings of today.
His words, “Senate has not taken any action on the letter vetoing the 2010 Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018 for now because there are processes and procedures of taking such actions.
“First, having received the letter, yesterday, as read on the floor by the Senate President, the next line of action would be to approve it in our votes and proceedings tomorrow (Wednesday), after which it will be properly studied for any possible line of action”.
Recall that the National Assembly, three weeks ago, passed the 2010 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill and reordered the sequence of the 2019 general elections against the earlier one announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC had in its own sequence of elections, fixed February 16, 2019, for Presidential and National Assembly elections, and March 2, 2019 for governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.
However, the National Assembly, in its own sequence of elections, put that of the National Assembly first, followed by the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections and Presidential election last.
The Tide gathered that the lawmakers have the option of accepting President Buhari’s action or overriding the President on the veto.
To achieve the latter option, they would require the assent of 73 senators and 240 House of Representatives members to counter the President’s veto, being the constitutional 2/3 majority stipulated by the Constitution for the purpose.
It would also be recalled that in the wake of the Senate’s passage of the Amendment Bill on February 14, 10 senators led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu had protested against the new sequence, and staged a walkout on the Senate.
They also vowed that the bill would not be signed into law by President Buhari.
Recall that one of the senators who protested against the bill, Senator Omo Agege (Delta Central) also boasted that the group had the support of over 55 senators who were against the passage of the bill.
But he later recanted the claim on the floor of the Senate when he withdrew his statement; and apologised to the Senate for giving the information which he admitted was wrong.
Meanwhile, the Senate has told the Independent National Electoral Commission that it is the responsibility of lawmakers to fix the order of elections in the country.
It said the election body should not be misguided on the extent of the powers of the National Assembly in the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010.
The warning is coming against the backdrop of the imminent face-off between INEC and the National Assembly over the ordering of the 2019 elections.
INEC wants the presidential election to hold first, whereas the National Assembly has passed a bill, awaiting assent by President Muhammadu Buhari, for the election of the president to hold last.
While this was going on, the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu announced the dates for elections for the next 36 years.
But speaking last Monday while declaring open a public hearing on the bill seeking to establish the National Electoral Offences Commission, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, represented by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah, said: “Of recent, there have been arguments on who has power to do what.
“INEC should be cautious of who it is listening to.
“We would not sit anywhere this constitution will be violated.
“It is necessary we caution ourselves.
“We need this country, we love this country.”
Saraki also noted that some political aspirants and parties were already campaigning when INEC had yet to declare electioneering open, adding, “The Senate in particular would be very worried, if INEC begins to condone the actions of some political parties.
“You have not declared campaigns open, and some are already campaigning.”
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that it was not surprised that President Muhammadu Buhari withheld his assent to the legislation by the National Assembly, reordering the sequence of general elections in the country, particularly given the tendencies he has continued to display as a politician.
A statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary of the party in Abuja yesterday, expressed the PDP’s belief in democracy and subscription to all its tenets including the respect for the powers of the National Assembly to make laws and to amend such laws as occasion demands.
It said in the light of this development, the PDP, and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians were now eagerly awaiting the final decision of the National Assembly on the amendment.
The statement said: “As a party, we are not afraid of the 2019 general elections because we know that Nigerians have already rejected President Buhari and his dysfunctional All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Against this backdrop, the PDP assures to provide all the members of our great party a level playing ground to choose a Presidential candidate in a National Convention that promises to be open, free, fair, credible and transparent.
“We know that with the support of Nigerians, any candidate that emerges on our platform ahead of 2019 will clinically defeat President Buhari at the polls and lead our nation back to the path of progress, national cohesion and a vibrant economy.”

 

Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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I’ll Provide Solid Representation, If Elected -Banigo

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has assured the people of Abua/Odual Local Government Area that she would provide undivided representation if voted into the Senate in 2023.
Banigo gave this assurance when leaders and critical stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party had a meeting with her, at the Government House in Port Harcourt to map out campaign strategies, yesterday.
The deputy governor said, she was excited that the meeting was held for the stakeholders to understand themselves, to ensure the party wins at the elections in 2023, adding that by the grace of God the local government area would be better than what it is now, if she emerges as the Rivers West senator.
In a related development, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is the Rivers West Senatorial District Candidate of the PDP in the upcoming polls, has also met with leaders of the PDP in Ahoada East Local Government Area, where she urged them to reach out to their constituents and encourage the collection of PVCs.
“We must realize that with this new Electoral Act, the votes will surly count, as this 2023 election is not going to be like the previous elections, there will be a difference, people should not be afraid to pick up their cards and vote, they should not be lackadaisical about it, they should keep their cards safe and on the day of election they should come up and cast their vote, because this time every vote will count”.
She said the campaigns would be unit based and urged them to reach out to those in their units.
“Make sure you have unit executives in each of the wards, so we can have a door to door campaign”, Banigo said.
In his remarks at the meetings, the Vice Chairman of the Rivers West Senatorial District of the PDP, Dr. Nname Robinson Ewor, said there is a need for members of the PDP to go out and establish their presence in all units’ wards and constituencies, stressing that the nature of this upcoming election would be different from previous elections.

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Ariolu, Others Welcome Ex-Deputy Guber Candidate To PDP

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Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, Barrister George Ariolu, has led other party faithful, including Chairman of PDP, Ward 6, Kingsley Nna; Chairman of PDP, Ward 9, Collins Wobo Chukwu; and Obio/Akpor PDP Secretary, Kingman Ogbonna; to receive a bigwig and stakeholder of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Rumuogba in Ward 6, Chief Williams Igwe, into the PDP.
Receiving the former Deputy Governorship Candidate of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the Obio/Akpor PDP Secretariat, Rumueme, Ariolu expressed delight over his decampment from the APC to the PDP, describing it as an indication that the party was waxing stronger.
Ariolu, who was greeted with euphoria by the LGA PDP Chairman, Chidi Amadi, who also welcomed the former deputy governorship candidate at the secretariat, promised to work closely with Igwe to build the party ahead of the forthcoming election.
He pointed out that the foundation of the PDP was built on togetherness, stating that collectively, the party would achieve more.
Ariolu thanked Igwe for wholeheartedly accepting to come back to the party.
According to him, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has separated governance from politics following his relentless battle to promote the interest of Rivers people.
Also speaking, Chairman of the PDP in Obio/Akpor, Chidi Amadi, said the reception of Igwewas a fulfilment of an age-long dream, and a welcome development for members of the party, expressing joy over the event.
He further commended Ariolu for his strong support and leadership towards the sustenance and growth of the party.
In his remark, Chief Williams Igwe affirmed his loyalty and commitment to the PDP in its quest to oust the APC and fix the broken state of the country’s socio-economic and political fabrics.
He described the reception as a homecoming for himself and his supporters who would be formally received at a formal event which would be organised by the state party chairman, adding that PDP remains a major political party which will unite the nation.
He added that his decision to defect to the party was well-thought-out, and called on others to join hands with the Rivers State Government to rebuild the socio-economic fortunes of the state.
According to him, he believed that it was time for him to cross over to join hands with the Rivers State governor in moving the state forward.
The former Deputy Governorship Candidate was also received by PDP Chieftain, Barrister Temple Ejekwu; Obio/Akpor PDP Woman Leader,Gloria Wonodi; Barrister Kelvin Akani; and members of Obio/Akpor PDP Executive.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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NNPC Posts N674bn Profit

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) has declared a profit after tax of N674billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2021.
The profit represented a growth of 134.84per cent when compared with N287billion profit in 2020 which was recorded under the old Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), NNPC Ltd, Malam Mele Kyari, said this at a news conference, yesterday, in Abuja.
“NNPC progressed to a new performance level, from N287billion profit in 2020 to a N674billion profit after tax in 2021 climbing higher by 134.8per cent year on year profit growth,’’ he said.
Kyari also said that it recorded an increase in total assets from N15.86trillion in 2020 to N16.27trillion in 2021.
Speaking on the group’s financial position, Kyari said the corporation’s total liabilities decreased by 8.3per cent to N13.46trillion during the review period from N14.68trillion in 2020.
The GCEO said its shareholders funds position rose N2.81trillion representing 144per cent year-on-year.
“The performance would have been greater if the operations in the year under review were free from incessant vandalism, crude oil and products theft, among others.
“Details of the performance of NNPC and the respective subsidiaries as well as that of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) will be published on our website www.nnpcgroup.com for stakeholder’s perusal.
“We look forward to achieving greater performance to support our growth aspirations and to create more value for our stakeholders as we drive full commercial operations under NNPC Ltd.,’’ he said.
He recalled that in September 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the publication of the 2020 NNPC Group Audited Financial Statement, in which NNPC declared a profit after tax of N287billion for the first time in 44 years.
Kyari said that in spite of the challenging operating environment, it strongly believed that the corporation had the potential to sustainably deliver better value to it esteemed shareholders.
He said it sought to become a dynamic global energy company of choice to its customers, partners and over 200million shareholders comprising of all Nigerians.
Kyari noted that the corporation in 2019 rolled out deliberate policies and initiatives aimed at reducing costs and eliminating losses while adopting technology to entrench transparency, accountability and performance excellence (TAPE) across its various functions.
He said the NNPC had recorded significant improvement over the past three years, turning up the curve from losses to profits.

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