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Saraki Disbands Buhari Support Group In Senate …As Court Rejects APC Senator’s Plea To Stop Suspension

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The Senate President, BukolaSaraki, yesterday ordered the immediate disbandment of the Parliamentary Support Group in the Senate.
His directive was met with no resistance from members of the pro-Buhari group.
It is not clear if Dr Saraki as Senate President, has such constitutional powers to disband a freely formed group. especially as the constitution guarantees freedom of association. However, none of the members of the pro-Buhari group, r aised objection whren Mr Sararki gave the directive.
The group was formed in March by pro-Buhari Senators, after a face-off with their colleagues on the amendment to the electoral act.
Early this month, members of the group including Abdullahi Adamu, OvieOmo-Agege, Abu Ibrahim, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, BabajideOmoworare, Ali Ndume, openly identified with President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura as his parliamentary support group.
The Senate, adopting a motion moved by Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto -APC), also mandated its committee on Ethic, Privileges and Public Petitions, t probe both ,Mr Adamu amd Mr Omo-Agege for their roles as chairman and Secretary of the group respectively.
Earlier yesterday, Mr Omo-Agege was suspended by his colleagues for accusing them of working against Mr Buhari’s re-election bid in 2019 through the amendment of the electoral act.
While debating on the report that led to the suspension of the secretary of the group, OvieOmo-Agege, the existence of the group was once again mentioned by KabirMarafa (Zamfara, APC).
“Mr President, in as much as I am against the suspension of any senator, but I am equally against the formation of any other group in this chamber. The formation of the parliamentary support group is evil and it should not stand, it is counter-productive and against the president himself,” Marafa said.
Ruling over the issue, Saraki ordered the group to be disbanded.
“Distinguished Colleagues, a number of points have been raised. One borders on the issue of preserving the integrity of this institution. To me, that is what i think is the most important thing for us.
“Second, is where we take actions that are not sincere. I think in this chamber, if we want to talk about who has the right to say he is chairman of a Parliamentary Support Group for Mr President both by action and by what we have done, I think that I have the right to lead that more than anyone else here.
“Those of us that understand politics, understand that because of our own peculiar interest, sometimes some people decide to act like they are holier than thou or more committed — at the expense of others. This is not something that we should tolerate, and I believe that in an institution like this we must show discipline, but at the same time we must also show compassion.
“Distinguished Colleagues, there must be discipline. We must show that such groups must be suspended and the case in court must be withdrawn. I think by that we would have captured, no more of these kind of groups in the Senate,” he said.
The disbandment of the group was also part of the recommendations adopted by the Senate.
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected an ex parte application filed by the Delta Central senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, to stop his suspension by the Senate.
He had, on April 3, filed the ex-parte application before Justice NnamdiDimgba, asking the court to order that “all further proceedings against the plaintiff (the senator) in respect of the allegations referred to the first defendant’s (Senate’s) Committee for Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition” be halted pending the hearing and determination of his main suit.
He asked the court to order parties to the main suit earlier filed on March 26, 2018 “not to consider, act on or give effect to any recommendation, resolution or decision of the first respondent’s (Senate) committee for Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition.”
The defendants to the suit are the Senate, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. AbubakarMalami (SAN).
But the Senate yesterday suspended the Senator for 90 days over his comment that the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 to reorder the sequence of polls in a general election was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.
This came after the Federal High Court in Abuja had, on Wednesday, rejected his ex-parte application requesting that parties be ordered to maintain status quo by suspending all actions concerning the issues raised in respect of the case.
Last Wednesday, Omo-Agege’s lawyer, Mr. E.R. Emukpoeuo, had moved his client’s ex parte application filed before Justice NnamdiDimgba on April 3, 2017.
Ruling, however, Justice Dimgba refused to grant the order, directing the parties to maintain status quo.

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UBA Appoints Bawuah As First Female CEO For Africa Operations …Announces Six Other Executive Appointments …As Oni Retires From Group Board

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The Board of Directors of the United Bank for Africa Plc, Africa’s Global Bank, has today, announced the appointment of Mrs. Abiola Bawuah, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UBA Africa.

Bawuah will also join the Group Board as an Executive Director, overseeing the Group’s operations across the African continent, outside Nigeria.

UBA operates in 19 African countries beyond Nigeria, in addition to global operations in New York, London, Paris and the UAE.

Bawuah, a Ghanaian national, is the first female CEO of UBA Africa.

Her appointment further demonstrates UBA’s commitment to diversity.

The UBA Group Board now includes eight female Directors.

Prior to her appointment, Bawuah was Regional CEO, West Africa, supervising the Group’s operations in nine subsidiaries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

She previously held the role of CEO, UBA Ghana.

Speaking on the new appointment, the Group Board Chairman Mr Tony O. Elumelu said, “Abiola has contributed significantly to the growth of UBA Africa for close to a decade.

She brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking, and stakeholder engagement.

It also gives me great pleasure that with her appointment, the UBA Group Board has now become a majority female board.”

The UBA Group also announced the following executive roles:

Chris Ofikulu becomes the Regional CEO, UBA West Africa.

Ofikulu, who has over two decades of banking experience spanning corporate, commercial, and retail banking.

Uzoechina Molokwu will take on the role as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of UBA Ghana, subject to local regulatory approvals.

He was previously the Executive Director, Business Development – UBA Côte d’Ivoire and has over 23 years banking experience.

Ayokunle Olajubu will be the Managing Director/CEO UBA Liberia, subject to local regulatory approvals.

He currently drives compliance across Africa subsidiaries andcomes with 30 years banking experience in Nigeria and other African countries,including Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and the Gambia.

Theresa Henshaw has been appointed as CEO of UBA UK, subject to local regulatoryapprovals.

She was previously the DMD, Business Development, UBA America and joined the Group as ED, Business Development at UBA UK.

Usman Isiaka, currently CEO, UBA Sierra Leone, will be the Deputy CEO in UBA America, subject to local regulatory approvals.

Adeyemi Adeleke, the former CEO of UBA, UK is now the Group Treasurer.

Adeleke will be working to unlock the immense value in the Group’s multi-jurisdictional balance sheet, leveraging on its presence in 24 countries within and beyond Africa.

In addition to the executive appointments, UBA has announced the retirement of High Chief Samuel Oni, an independent non-executive Director, from the Board following the expiration of his tenure.

He joined the UBA Group in January 2015 and served on the Board of the Group for eight years.

The Group Chairman, Mr Tony Elumelu expressed his appreciation to High Chief Oni, for his commitment, leadership and extensive contributions to the UBA Group and on behalf of the Board, wishes him the very best in all his future endeavours.

Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, United Bank for Africa provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

UBA is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees group wide and serving over 37million customers globally.

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Naira Swap: Reps Reject Extension, Threaten Emefiele’s Arrest

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The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on New Naira Re-design and Naira Swap Policy has added a new twist to the controversy surrounding the deadline for the validity of old notes by rejecting the 10-day extension granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the exchange.
The committee described the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood.
Recall that the CBN had earlier fixed January 31 as the deadline for the exchange of N200, N500 and N1000 old naira notes.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, however, yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari gave permission for the deadline to be extended till February 10.
But the Ad hoc Committee, chaired by the Majority Leader, House of Reps, Alhassan Doguwa, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, rejected the extension, insisting that the CBN must comply with sections 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN Act.
The Lower House, had during its sitting on Tuesday, last week, following the outcry by Nigerians, constituted the Ad hoc committee to look into the issue.
Doguwa said, “The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution. We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the House, would only accept clear compliance with Section 20 Sub-section 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN Act and nothing more.
Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the Ad hoc committee.”
According to him, under his chairmanship, the committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.
While describing the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, Doguwa insisted that the CBN governor must appear before the House or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs to be signed by the Speaker on Monday (today).
He also said the policy was capable of frustrating the forthcoming general election.
“Security agencies and their operations especially at the state level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections,” he said.

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2023 Election Failure’ll Polarise The Polity, Set Democracy Backwards -Wike

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Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged Nigerians not to allow the 2023 general elections to fail.
He said the failure of the 2023 elections would increase political polarisation, exacerbate social fault lines and set Nigeria’s democracy backwards.
Governor Wike gave the charge at the 2023 Port Harcourt International Conference, sponsored by Rivers State Government, with the theme: Deepening Democratic Culture and Institutions for Sustainable Development and Security in Nigeria”, held at Obi Wali International Conference in Port Harcourt, last Thursday.
The governor, in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, noted that barely one month away, Nigerians are hoping and praying for the 2023 general elections to herald the deepening of democratic culture, the rule of law and good governance in the country.
Governor Wike, however, insisted that the opportunity to elect a new President of the federation and 30 State Governors should be a success because it will consolidate and strengthen the roots of democracy in the national life of Nigeria.
“In a democracy, periodic elections are the only legitimate means for the peaceful transfer of power from one party to another. Since 1999, Nigeria has had six general election circles, but none was considered substantially clean and fair.
“The outcome of the 2003 general elections was rejected at different levels by the opposition and the losers, and litigated up to the Supreme Court. The outcome of the 2007 elections led to protests, riots, the loss of several lives, and the destruction of property in particular sections of the country”, he noted.
Governor Wike also recalled that even President Musa Ya’ardua had promised necessary electoral reforms when he publicly denounced the process that brought him to power because it was severely flawed.
According to him, the 2011 general election also suffered a similar experience and was litigated by the opposition to the Supreme Court.
“None of the defeated contestants believed they lost fairly and blamed the umpire, the security agencies and politicians for undermining our democracy with brazen electoral fraud”.
Governor Wike noted further that the 2015 general election, though considered rigged, recorded some improvements with the use of the smart card reader and the emergence of opposition candidates as the winners of the presidential.
The governor said the 2019 general election was equally problematic and rejected as highly compromised by the opposition and litigated up to the Supreme Court.
“In Rivers State, we battled the military in the 2015 and 2019 re-run and general elections with pure courage and determination to secure our victory and retain our mandate with the sweat and blood of innocent citizens”, he said.
Governor Wike pointed out that when the government compromises the integrity of elections through election management agencies, it denies citizens their constitutional right to elect the leaders they want and can hold accountable.
Conversely, he emphasised, when elections lack integrity, the leaders who emerged from outside the people’s will are illegitimate.
According to him, “Such leaders without trust are likely to be authoritarian, divisive and incapable of effective governance. Serial election rigging threatens our democracy and constitutes an existential challenge to the nation’s future stability.
“Therefore, deepening democratic culture and institutions for sustainable development and security is important to us as a nation, and free and fair elections with integrity remain the only path to achieving this objective”.
Speaking further, Governor Wike said the new electoral law, especially with the provisions of the use of technology, holds the prospect for a brighter democratic experience for Nigeria if implemented effectively.
However, he stressed, that beyond the legal regime, political parties’ internal practices and external electioneering behaviour must conform to democratic norms and standards.
“The efficiency of the judiciary in interpreting and enforcing the existing regulatory regime, including the laws, regulations and guidelines beyond reproach and the capacity and consistency of INEC and the security agencies to be firm, impartial and independent in the discharge of their functions are most crucial.
“Safeguarding and deepening our democracy lies with every citizen. We must have the courage to stand up for justice, the rule of law, an independent and courageous judiciary, and our rights and freedoms to vote and be voted in a transparent election”, he stated.
Presenting his keynote address, former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who titled his paper: “Respecting the Principles of Democracy”, noted that Nigeria’s democracy has gone through twists, dives and turns since political independence.
He said the best of the country’s history has been the sustenance of democracy since the military transfer of power to an elected government in 1999.
He however, observed that there may be reasons to doubt how much lessons the leaders and followers have drawn from the country’s past and how far they are willing to go to deepen, widen and strengthen democracy and democratic practice.
The former president declared that the ways in which the political class have practised democracy have deepened contradictions, negative coalitions, distrust, disloyalty and unpatriotic tendencies within and between communities and constituencies all over the country.
He stated that this means that there is a deep structural and philosophical problems that must be deal with.
Chief Obasanjo informed that if the practice of democracy is superficial and opportunistic and it is designed to pursue a struggle of limited objectives, it would precipitate variants of fractured engagements that cannot address structural and philosophical contradictions and challenges.
“In fact, the order of the day would be community against community, religion against religion, leader against leader. Ordinary citizens are then dragged into the directionless, meaningless and opportunistic personal or narrow ambitions of leaders. The end result will be confusion, diffusion, distraction and possibly leading to separation and disintegration”, he said.
The former president stressed that democracy is possible in Nigeria and the people have the capacity to build a culture of democratization. However, he insisted that Nigerians must recognise and accept the fact that it is an evolutionary process with principles.
“Without retracing our political steps to the right direction, the current process will either not produce the right leaders or it will leave so many broken blocks on the path to governance and attract resources and energy away from the task of rebuilding Nigeria and consolidating our democratic practice.
“The result will be democratic quagmire, increased corruption, insecurity and survival of the fittest, richest and better connected with little or no recognition of merits. The implications and cost of such a scenario to our present and future can best be imagined. I pray that God will grant us the wisdom to do what is right for our country and people at all times and more so now”, he said.
In his opening remarks, former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was the chairman of the occasion, said the theme of the conference addresses itself to the imperative of enhancing democratic governance to the benefit of Nigerians and the country.
Fayemi pointed to the scholarly assertions of late Claude Ake, on feasibility and possibility of democracy wherein there has to be enduring democratic culture and democracy being structured to be developmental in nature.
He observed that Nigeria’s democracy is bedevilled by lack of party based politics, issued based politicking, untamed political violence, winner take all mentality, growing influence of money in politics, exploitation of loophole to subvert the will of the people and social media and spread of fake news.
“Though, there are some political milestones achieved since 1999, there is no doubt that we still have a longway to go in building a robust culture of power and politics that is both democratic and sustaining”, he said.
As part of the event, there was the unveiling of the book, “Bridging Rivers”, under the chairmanship of former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili.

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