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Democracy Taking Stronger Roots In Nigeria – Dekor

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Twenty – nine years after  the June 12, 1993 General Elections, adjudged the freest and fairest in Nigeria, was anulled by the military junta of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, stakeholders believe that enough lessons had been learnt from that sordid political experience which has evidently shaped the very spirit and character of political transition in the country.
Without any pretence, Nigerians acknowledge the effects of that singular political decision on democratic transition in the country, and are more cautious against such political tendencies.
Key stakeholders  and political players are of the view that lessons from the June 12 debacle had forestalled such instances of abridgement of the civic rights of  Nigerians, as the populace is more adaptable to the rules of popular democracy and more vigilant over their civic responsibilities, while the ruling class is also awakening to how to use power without abusing it.
In the candid postulation and opinion of Rt Hon Dumnamene Dekor, member representing Khana/ Gokana Federal Constituency in the National Assembly on the chequered political development  of Nigeria, Democracy is getting more consolidated and rooted in the country and should be protected.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt recently, Hon Dekor, a former Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, said the June 12 experience has become a focal point of sober reasoning in terms of democratic transition and political governance in Nigeria.
According to Dekor, Nigerians learnt great lessons from June 12 and came out of the experience with a resolute stance on populist participation in the process of governance as the sustainable foundation of the nation’s political growth.
”Democracy has come to stay in Nigeria, there is no better option for the development of the country than democracy. What we need to do is to tailor our democracy towards our needs. There is the need to strengthen our democratic institutions. Every society passes through challenging moments to get more strengthened. Nigeria has come of age to tackle its inherent socio-economic and political challenges. I’m happy over the reforms that are going on in the country.  Today-we have an INEC that is prepared. There is hope for a brighter prospect of democratic experience where the people will play active roles; where the people will be able to exercise their statutory mandate and trust the outcome of the process”, he said.
Commenting further on citizenship awareness and participation in the democratic process, Hon Dekor said there was need for massive voter education of the populace by relevant agencies such as the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Media, Civil Society Organisations, among others to  rouse the people from their apathy and mobilise them against accepting seasonal political tokens from politicians in exchange of their liberty.
He observed that the visibility of the key mobilisation agency, the NOA, has been dismal and urged the agency to be proactive in the discharge of its  statutory function.
“The bulk of the country’s population reside in the rural areas and there’s need for effective mobilisation for them to key into the stream of political activities. The NOA, the major agency vested with this responsibility is not doing enough in this regard. The impact of the agency has not been felt in recent times. Particularly, now we are in a political transition, they need to wake up to their responsibilities by embarking on massive campaigns and orientation of the people to participate in the process of political governance”, he pointed out.
Speaking on the just concluded party primaries across the country, Hon Dekor who is a stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the process so far has been interesting but there was need for more improvement to address some clearly identified lapses.
Using PDP primaries as a case study, he said at the state level, particularly in Rivers State, the party has remained focused and united in building concensus because of its formidable leadership.
However, at the national level, he noted a deviation from the letters of the constitution of the party which centres on zoning as a yardstick of balancing power equations.
Hon Dekor was also deeply concerned about the minority question in Nigeria. He said Nigeria as a federation of component units should respond to the imperatives of justice by devolving  powers to the component units and not operate on a behemoth called federal government which is highly centralised.
“One of the greatest challenges of nation building is the minority question. The minorities in Nigeria have not been treated fairly despite their enormous contributions to the economic development of the country. Issues concerning the development of the minorities are treated with negligible attention.
“For example, the issue of soot emission in Rivers State which has caused grave environmental and health challenges has not unnerved the Federal Ministry of Environment, despite all the overtures of the Rivers State Government to get their attention to the malaise. This is unfair.
“There’s need for fiscal federalism and devolution of powers to the federating units. The centralised federal structure in operation is inimical to national development and growth as the minorities are always slighted in the distribution of the common wealth of the nation to which they are the major contributors”, the seasoned legislator said.
The federal lawmaker applauded Governor Nyesom Wike over his bold stride to challenge institutional flaws in the Nigerian federation as exemplified in the issue of Value Added Tax, (VAT) and other imbalances and usurpation of the fundamental rights of the states.
He said Rivers State should not only be seen as a political bride to be used to achieve vested political interests but should as well be given commensurate honour in terms of the state’s contributions to the economic development of the country.
In his assessment of the potency of the Legislative arm of government in Nigeria within the past years of the country’s democratic evolution,  Hon Dekor said that Nigeria’s legislature has made remarkable improvement so far.
He explained that the Legislative arm of government had been the major victim of military dictatorship in Nigeria as they were always suspended and decreed out of existence while the Judiciary always existed as the defense forces assumed executive leadership.
According him such disbandment of the Legislature amounted to the total callapse of democracy, as the Legislature was the true repository of representative democracy.
He, however, expressed hope that years of uninterrupted democratic rule in the country have reinvigorated the legislative arm of government to play it’s statutory lawmaking role, noting that good governance thrives on effective and efficient legislative practices.
Hon Dekor identified external and extraneous influences as a major hindrance to the evolution of an independent parliament and recommended that leadership of the legislative arm of government be allowed to evolve internally without undue interference.
Asked his assessment of the Ogoni Clean Up Project by the Federal Government, the federal lawmaker who is the Chairman, House Committee on Host Communities in the House of Representatives said he would be able to make a formal comment on the state of the Ogoni clean- up venture after the exercise of the oversight function of the committee which would  commence soon.
Commenting on the role of the Local Government as the closest tier of government to the people, he noted that the local councils owed the people a duty to ensure security and development of the local communities.
He commended the Chairmen of Khana and Gokana LGAs for their developmental strides within one year in office, particularly in the areas of security, youth empowerment and infrastructural development.
Hon. Dekor urged Local Government chairmen across the state  not to rest on their oars but be proactive in dispensing governance to the rural areas and stimulating robust rural economies.
Hon. Dekor, who is seen as a man of intense grassroots involvement is the candidate of the PDP for a second term to represent the Khana /Gokana Federal Constituency in next year’s general elections.
He believes that his achievements and endearing attributes would earn him the mandate of the people for another legislative tenure.

By: Taneh Beemene

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2023: ‘Unknown Persons’ Stole My Academic Certificates, Tinubu Tells INEC

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The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that his academic certificates were stolen by unknown persons while he was on self exile.
Tinubu, a former Lagos State Governor, was one of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) Chieftains who fled the country under the regime of the late General Sani Abacha.
Abacha had clamped down on academics, activists and other technocrats opposed to his regime.
In his sworn affidavit in support of his nomination form for the office of the president, Tinubu said he “went on self exile from October 1994 to October 1999 (and) when I returned and discovered that my property including all the documents relating to my qualification and my certificates in respect of paragraph 3 above were looted by unknown persons.”
While Tinubu skipped information regarding his primary and secondary education in the INEC form, he, however, said he attended University of Chicago between 1972 and 1976, where he obtained B.Sc in Economics.
He also said he had B.Sc in Business and Administration, as well as certificate in Public Account.
Tinubu’s latest claims appear to contradict his previous election submissions, especially in 1999, when he ran and won the Lagos State governorship election.
He had said then that he attended St Paul Children’s Home School, Ibadan, between 1958 and 1964; while his secondary education was at Government College Ibadan (GCI), between 1965 and 1968.
Following a backlash, the former governor withheld his primary and secondary schools academic records when he recontested in 2003.
He had claimed that from Ibadan, he proceed to Richard Daley College, Chicago, from 1969 to 1971.
He finally said he attended both Chicago State University and the University of Chicago.
All the submissions were, however, challenged as fraudulent by a prominent Nigerian lawyer, late Gani Fawehinmi.
Fawehinmi, who argued the matter up to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the case on technical grounds.
In his forms, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presented the Master’s degree he obtained in 2021, as his highest educational qualification.

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PDP Chieftain Hails Aduda’s Emergence As Senate Minority Whip

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A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Honourable Hellen Taiwo-Adebakin, has congratulated Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda on his emergence  as Senate Minority Whip
Adebakin, while rejoicing with the Senator said, Aduda’s elevation was a great honour for the good people of the FCT that he represents, who daily yearn for effective inclusion in the affairs of Nigeria.
Hon Adebakin, Secretary of the former and current ex-National ex-officio members of the PDP also described the new feat attained by the Senator as a product of loyalty and consistency to the PDP.
“I am using this opportunity to rejoice with one of our leaders in PDP, Senator Philip Aduda over his emergence as the Senate Minority Whip. Your elevation to this enviable position was a product of hard work, commitment to legislative duties and loyalty to the party. I pray to God Almighty to continue to guide as you assume this position,” Adebakin said.
She, therefore, urged him to continue to be a good ambassador of the party, stressing that the Senator will move to a higher position in the Red Chamber when the PDP returns to power at the centre in 2023.

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Senate Lauds Gbajabiamila’s House Leadership As Speaker Turns 60

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The Senate has lauded House of Representatives’ Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila on his 60th birthday.
The Senate gave the commendation in a statement by its spokesman and Chairman, Media and Public Affairs Committee, Senator Ajibola Basiru in Abuja.
The statement reads: “The upper legislative chamber, Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wishes to congratulate an outstanding achiever, an astute legal light, a man of exemplary social standing and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Honorable Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila on his 60th birthday.
“Achieving this major milestone – a perfect 10, six times, over which you have attained calls for recognition and celebration; especially having achieved so much for yourself, the society and the nation.
“The Senate recognises you as a man of good upbringing and a well-bred personality who had traversed the universe in search of education and had achieved so much in your chosen legal career before making outstanding pursuits in legislative politics.
“Your services as an extraordinary lawmaker have been impeccable rising from being a member of the House of Representatives to becoming the minority leader, majority leader and then holding the prestigious position of the Speaker of the elite Assembly”.
“Your being one of the two longest-serving members of the House of Representatives also calls for all accolades that can be showered on you today.
“You have surely had many adventures in life but we still see you travelling farther to further stabilise the Nation’s polity and we pray for long life and good health for you as all things get better with age for you.
“While we rejoice with you, we hope you will have an amazing birthday. Congratulations!”

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