The much awaited constitution amendment is now with the State Houses of Assembly.
The Clerk of the National Assembly, Arch Amos Ojo, had on March 29, 2022 transmitted 44 Constitution Review Bills to the Clerks of the State Houses of Assembly for concurrence.
The bills require the approval of two-thirds of State Houses of Assembly or 24 out of the 36 State Assemblies to become laws.
There are far reaching decisions taken by the National Assembly on the bills which included the much talked- about financial autonomy for the state Houses of Assembly and the State Judiciaries.
Also, the much-needed local government autonomy is waiting for the approval of the state houses of assembly members.
During the last constitution amendment exercise, the state assemblies voted against their autonomy, denying financial autonomy for the states judicial branch and local governments autonomy.
However, the same bills have been repackaged by the National Assembly and forwarded to the state Houses of Assembly.
The faster they act on the bills, the better it would be as the bills will only survive with the present 9th National Assembly.
Calls for the State Houses of Assembly in the country to pass the 44 constitution amendment bills sent to them by the National Assembly have since intensified with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) saying that the LGs are not pot of soup for the Governors.
To this end, the unions are calling on the state houses of assembly to, as a matter of urgency, pass the bills so that the local governments can be freed from retrogressive acts.
The 1st National Vice President of NUT, Comrade Kayode Akosile, said most governors see the local government as their pot of soup, adding that his union supports autonomy for the local governments.
The NUT chieftain who said they were initially reluctant in joining hands with NULGE to push for LG autonomy, added that they realised there was no development at the third tier of government.
“There is no development at the local government that is why we are pushing for LG autonomy.
“Governors see local governments as their pot of soup. They want local government chairmen to be answerable to them. We will join hands with NULGE and NLC and others to ensure that LG autonomy is realised,” Akosile said.
The Chairman, FCT chapter of the NLC, Abubakar Hassan Yakub, said their stand on the Local Government autonomy, independence of the State Assemblies and the Judiciary has not changed.
“LG autonomy, independence of legislature and of the Judiciary is non negotiable. All stakeholders must work hard and ensure that the constitution amendment becomes a reality,” Yakub said, adding that the 9th National Assembly have done their part and the state assemblies must play their part too.
The NULGE President, Ambali Hakeem Olatunji, who said that all hands must be on deck to rescue Nigeria, added that local government autonomy should be of paramount importance in the constitution amendment.
He said the struggle to ensure good governance at the local government level must continue even after they are granted autonomy.
Tallen Explains Withdrawal From Senatorial Race
Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has explained that she never planned to run for the senatorial seat in Plateau State in the coming elections but for the withdrawal of her representative who happens to be a female, Prof Nora Ladi Daduut, who stepped down as a result of threats to life.
She gave the explanation on Monday, during a hybrid event, ‘Partnership for goals: Advancing the gender agenda for sustainable development; A High-Level Convergence by Pathfinder International in partnership with She Forum Africa to deepen awareness and build momentum for gender equality.
According to the minister, the female senator from her senatorial zone has survived three life-threatening attacks and has been receiving constant threats to back out of her race.
She said, “I have a sitting female senator. All I wanted was for her to continue. We have only eight women out of 109, my own senator from my senatorial zone is a woman, she is doing very well, and I’m fully ready to support her.”
While lamenting what she termed as political violence against women, the minister stated that her nomination form was picked for her by a group of women, adding that she had no hand in its procurement.
According to her, “a lot of things were put into consideration. There was an outcry of women from all the 35 states. I don’t want to be selfish but I was fighting for a just cause.
I did not on my own come out to pick the form. Because I have no reason to even say I will contest for the Senate when my senator, who is a female m representing me is already in the Senate. I wanted her to continue.
“But she has been harassed. And so much fear has been put in her. Her life has been threatened three times. She has backed down because she has to live to see her children, her life must continue. That was what led the woman in my constituency to contribute money and pick the form for me. Since I represent the women, I could not let them down. I honoured their request. Mr President was out of the country then and we were time-bound because we had only two or three days to submit the form, that was done.
“But I’m sure you are aware that Mr President called for a meeting on Friday, where we discussed all these issues. At the end of the meeting, it was clear that the matter will be looked into as I’m talking to you now I’m going in for another meeting. The matter will be looked into. I know Mr President is a true father, the national chairman of our party, is also looking into it to ensure fairness.”
Tallen said even though she was not desperate to contest, she wants more seats for women.
She said: “if the Senate seat is being denied of a woman in my state and other states, women should be compensated with two or three more seats in the Federal House, House of Assembly and local government. So it is not about Pauline Tallen but is about women.”
“My own senator, the senator from Rivers State has been denied ticket, the only senator from North-East, who is the best candidate for the Governor in Adamawa is not coming back to the Senate, our sister Remi Tinubu her husband is going for presidential office so she cannot contest. Looking at the number of the remaining four, how are we sure they will return. Our governors are pushing them out because the Senate is becoming retirement ground, it is time for action.”
Speaking on the event, she said gender equality was the fastest way to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, adding that gender equality must start from the home.
Enugu 2023: Ekweremadu Raises Alarm Over Alleged Plot To Arrest Supporters
The Ikeoha Campaign Organisation says it has uncovered plans to frame up, arrest, and detain supporters of the former Deputy President of the Senate and the governorship aspirant in Enugu State, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary elections in the state
It also alerted the public of plans to unleash cultists on Ekweremadu’s supporters.
The campaign organisation revealed this on Monday in a statement signed by the Director-General, Hon. Charles Ogbo Asogwa, and called on the heads of the security agencies and leadership of the PDP in Enugu State to take note and nip the plots in the bud.
He said: “Credible intelligence has alerted us to sinister plans to plant arms, ammunition, and other implicating items on the property of notable Enugu and PDP chieftains resolutely supporting Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s gubernatorial ambition.
“The aim is to arrest, arraign, and have them consigned to the Correctional Centres (Prisons) to ensure that they are out of circulation until after the primaries and 2023 general elections.
“Nigerians should recall that the Chairman of the PDP in Okpatu Ward, Udi LGA, Paulinus Ugwu (Ayaya), is still detained in the Enugu Correction Centre (Prisons) on trumped up charges and refused bail by the Enugu State Judiciary for many months now. His continued detention is primarily to keep him away from the primaries where he is a statutory delegate.
“Likewise, several of our supporters have been charged to court for baseless offences to weaken our struggle for a New Enugu State”.
The Organisation said it was equally in possession of credible intelligence pointing to plans to use a confraternity group to intimidate and attack his supporters.
“They also plan to unleash a particular confraternity group on Ekweremadu’s supporters to intimidate and muscle them out of their legitimate political convictions and choices.
“It is recalled that during our 6th May 2022 press conference, we projected graphic footages and images of attacks unleashed on our supporters. This was most dastardly and widespread during the 30th April 2022 three-man delegates election and all the incidents dating back to 2021 have been formerly reported to the law enforcement agencies.
“Consequently, we wish to alert the Inspector-General of Police, Director-General of the Department for State Security (DSS), Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the military service chiefs, the General Officer Commanding 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, and all the security agencies with a view to relating with their relevant commands to ensure that the evil plots do not come to pass.
“Likewise, this is a call on the leadership of the PDP in Enugu State to work with the relevant security agencies and party leaders to ensure that every plot capable of jeopardizing the party’s cohesion and chances in the forthcoming elections is thwarted”, the campaign organisation concluded.
Be Wary Of Court Ruling, Bode George Cautions Lagos PDP
Former National Vice Chairman (South West) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Bode George, has warned the party against accepting the congress carried out by its former Lagos State chairman, Deji Doherty, saying the court ruling against him may cost the party the elections.
In a press conference at his Ikoyi office on Monday, George said Lagos State High Court had last year ruled against Doherty and reinstated former caretaker chairman of the party in the state, Adegbola Dominic, as the legitimate chairman.
He said, if the party accepts the executive produced at the congress carried out by Doherty, it risks losing the election.
He also urged the PDP to move its national convention which is scheduled to take place on May 28 and 29 from Abuja to Lagos due to the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would also hold theirs at the same venue on 30 and 31.
“It is important to point out that Deji Doherty was removed by a court of competent jurisdiction, therefore any congress he conducts is null and void under the law. It will be better to avoid any of the candidates that emerged from the congress he conducted so that in future, no one will tell you that the election is illegal.
“I want to use this medium to speak on the venue for the convention. APC wants to hold their national convention on May 30 and 31 and we are holding ours on May 28 and 29 in Abuja. How is that possible? People would arrive for the PDP convention two or three days before the day and APC delegates would also arrive a few days before theirs. This could create confusion which would be disastrous for us.
“Because we want to impact positively in the minds of Nigerians that we are better managers without encumbrances, to move our convention from Abuja to Lagos. Which tribe in Nigeria does not reside in Lagos? If you want to fly or come by water or road, you would get here. There are many hotels, from one star to five stars. Holding it in Lagos would completely cut off any plans by the APC to want to scuttle our convention.
“On the issue of zoning, a memo was done and the first paragraph of that communique identified that zoning and rotation remain absolutely sacrosanct in PDP. It remained the cultural and political spinal cord of our party. In other words, people should not think that we have forgotten zoning. It remains very important in our party.
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