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.
Sokoto Guber: PDP Loses At Tribunal
The Sokoto Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has affirmed the election of Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto as the duly elected governor of the state.
The three-man panel led by Justice Haruna Msheila in its ruling dismissed the petition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its candidate, Saidu Umar challenging the victory of the APC and its candidate, Ahmad Aliyu in the March governorship election.
In a unanimous judgment, the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Haruna Mshelia, said the Petitioners were unable to prove the six grounds formulated in the petition.
He said the grounds bordered on alleged ineligibility for Aliyu and Gobir to contest, falsification of certificates, variation of names, election frauds and non-compliance with electoral guidelines.
Msheila said the petitioners were unable to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt as required by law, saying 70 per cent of exhibits were out of context because they relate to State Assembly elections conducted on the same dates.
According to him, to prove forgery two different documents of persons needed to be presented while the variation of names issues was a settled Supreme Court provision.
He said three subpoena witnesses were not tenable as they were not makers of the documents from the alleged primary school while the other 28 polling units agents testified could not identify themselves along with their roles.
The Tribunal Chairman said the alleged 138 polling units frauds were not adduced to indicate substantial non-compliance of the elections marred the election outcome.
Mshelia added that the tribunal dismissed all the preliminary objections on competency to institute the case by the respondents as the petitioners duly linked the grounds in the petition.
He dismissed the petition for lack of merit and failure to prove the allegations by the petitioner.
Tribunal Upholds Kefas’ Election As Taraba Governor
The Taraba State governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Jalingo, yesterday, upheld the election of Agbu Kefas of the Peoples Democratic Party,(PDP) as the governor of the state.
The three-man panel headed by Justice G.A Sunmonu dismissed the petition jointly filed by the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP, and its governorship candidate in the March 18, 2023 election, Professor Yahaya Sani, on the grounds of lack of sufficient evidence.
NNPP, and its gubernatorial candidate, had earlier filed a petition before the tribunal seeking the cancellation of the election which they alleged was characterised by irregularities.
Another relief sought by the NNPP and its guber candidate was for the tribunal to order a fresh election in the state.
The party also alleged non-compliance with the electoral Act 2022, as a major reason for its demand for the cancellation of the election.
The party, which also alleged that the incumbent governor of the state was not duly elected by a majority of lawful votes cast, earlier urged the tribunal to nullify the certificate of return issued to the governor by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Delivering judgment, the panel unanimously ruled that the petition filed by both NNPP and its gubernatorial candidate lacked merit.
The three-man panel, collectively dismissed the petition, stating that the petitioners failed to justify the relief they sought.
Elated by the judgment, the Deputy Governor, Aminu Alkali, called on the NNPP and other opposition political parties in the state to join hands with the incumbent governor to move the state forward.
Also overwhelmed by the judgment, the counsels to the PDP, applauded the panel for the judgment.
Though the counsel of the NNPP could not be reached at the time of filing this report, a chieftain of the party who spoke with The Tide source, said he was hopeful that the party will appeal the judgment.
Nigeria@63: Lawmaker Urges Patience, Says Tinubu Won’t Disappoint Nigerians
The lawmaker representing Okitipupa/Irele Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Jimi Odimayo has called on Nigerians to exercise patience with the administration of President Bola Tinubu, assuring that salvation was near.
Odimayo who gave this assurance in a statement issued through his Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Kayode Fasua, noted the apparent hardship in the land, and drew a comparison in the allegory of labour-room pains and the subsequent joy in strapping a newborn baby.
Odimayo said “We all must reflect on how we got to this sorry pass as a nation, counting from the year of our independence in 1960 till date: how democracy was aborted for many years through military interventions and how we are again back on track trying to improve on our democratic skills.
“However, in spite of various hiccups ranging from maladministration to corruption and other unpatriotic practices, we should renew hope, especially now that a good leader with verifiable antecedent in the person of President Bola Tinubu is in the driver’s seat.
“Ours can be assessed in the allegory of labour room pains that must be experienced during childbearing, before the mother beams with smiles at successful delivery; and that is what obtains now in the attempt by President Tinubu to right many wrongs and put Nigeria on the path to political and socio-economic greatness,”
While urging Nigerians to exercise patience and team up with all arms of government to achieve desired results, the lawmaker also called on political officeholders to tighten their belts and bend to work as justification to the electorate’s mandate.
According to him, the ballot box is the nemesis for all political leaders who failed in their vow to deliver the dividends of democracy.
“The last general elections held up many lessons for the political class, that unlike in the past, the level of voters’ awareness has risen stunningly in geometric proportions, as the people are mostly no longer for vote-buying and rigging, but are determined to scrutinise the qualities of candidates seeking their votes,” he stressed.
Odimayo similarly assured the people of his Okitipupa/Irele constituency and the entire Ondo State citizenry that he had designed various empowerment programmes and had stepped up various social infrastructural development lobbies, all of which will start manifesting soon.
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