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Pass Constitution Amendment Bills, Gbajabiamila Urges State Assemblies …Says Reps Working To End ASUU Strike

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged state Houses of Assembly to consider and pass bills transmitted to them by the National Assembly in the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.
Gbajabiamila made the appeal in his remarks at the opening of plenary, yesterday, after the National Assembly returned from its two-month annual break.
To amend a clause in the Constitution (two-third or four-fifth) majority of each of the Senate and the House has to approve the amendment after which it will be transmitted to the state Houses of Assembly, where two-third or 24 of the 36 of them have to concur.
The National Assembly had on March 1, 2022, voted on the 68 amendments recommended by the Joint Senate and House of Representatives’ Special Ad-Hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution.
The bills are seeking to amend various parts of the 1999 Constitution.
The National Assembly had on March 29, 2022, transmitted 44 Constitution alteration bills passed by it to the 36 state Houses of Assembly for concurrence.
The Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Amos Ojo, distributed the copies of the bills to clerks of the state Assemblies at a transmission ceremony in Abuja.
Yesterday, Gbajabiamila pointed out that the lawmakers owe Nigerians a Constitution that they (citizens) can identify with and call their own.
He said, “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria begins with the words ‘we the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having firmly and solemnly resolved’. In this 9th Assembly, we pledged to effect changes to the constitution that will give full effect to our people’s aspirations and help achieve our nation’s highest ideals.
“We promised a Constitution that reflects the future we desire and the potential we aspire to rather than the past from which we emerged. To that end, we considered and passed substantive amendments, which we forwarded to the state legislatures as required by the Constitution.
“Much of what we hope to become as a nation will remain elusive until we have a genuinely democratic constitution. We need a Constitution that addresses once and for all the unsettled questions that continue to divide us, distract from nation-building and hinder our hopes for a more perfect union.
“Therefore, I appeal to our colleagues in the state parliaments and to all the relevant authorities in the states to expedite action on these constitutional amendment bills under the leadership of the Deputy Speaker (Ahmed Wase). We owe it to the Nigerian people to deliver a Constitution that speaks to our future and, most importantly, comes from and belongs to ‘we the people.’”
Gbajabiamila had on June 14, 2022, warned that politicking towards the 2023 general election might frustrate the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution.
He, therefore, urged state parliaments to accelerate consideration and passage of the amendment bills transmitted to them by the National Assembly.
He had said, “The Constitution amendment process is still ongoing. We have already sent several constitutional amendment bills to the State Houses of Assembly for consideration. While we cannot dictate the pace of activities in the state legislatures, we must consider the possibility that these proposals are at risk of being forgotten amidst the heightened politicking across the country.
“Therefore, to the extent that we can, there may be a need to coordinate interactions with the state legislatures to ensure timely consideration of the bills. The leadership of the House of Representatives will examine the options we have in this regard and take a decision shortly.”
Similarly, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the parliament is committed to doing everything possible to end the lingering crisis between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Already, Gbajabiamila had summoned a stakeholders’ meeting to resolve the crisis that had led to lecturers shutting down the universities for over seven months.
The speaker had invited the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Chris Ngige; Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; the national leadership of ASUU and other critical stakeholders.
Gbajabiamila, in his remarks at the opening of plenary, yesterday, after the National Assembly returned from its two-month annual break, pointed out that the lawmakers owe the intervention to Nigerian youths and Nigeria’s future.
He said, “It has become necessary for the House to intervene in the extended face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Federal Government. This current impasse is due primarily to disagreements over conditions of service of the staff and funding of universities in general.
“Therefore, this afternoon, alongside the leadership of the House and the relevant committees, I will meet with representatives of the ASUU. Our agenda is to explore whatever options there are for parliament to help resolve the present crises so that our children can return to school.
“It is long established that access to education, more than anything else, is key to unlocking prosperity and improving social mobility outcomes in any society. And we all agree that the government has a role in ensuring that our nation’s young people get a quality education that allows them to compete and thrive in the 21st-Century knowledge economy.
“Yet, evidence abounds that the current framework of government-sponsored tertiary education is no longer working as it should and hasn’t worked for a long time. Our immediate goal is to do everything to get our children back to school. However, the time has also come to begin a candid assessment of the current system and to consider all available options for complete reform. We owe this to our children and to our nation’s future.”
Meanwhile, the stakeholders’ meeting called by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, over the lingering face-off between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities has commenced.
The meeting started about 3:45pm, yesterday.
Gbajabiamila had summoned a stakeholders’ meeting for 3pm to resolve the crisis that had led to lecturers shutting down the universities for over seven months.
The speaker had invited the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Chris Ngige; Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; the national leadership of ASUU and other critical stakeholders.
The leadership of the House and ASUU were in attendance, while the ministers of finance and labour were absent.
The Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah, and a representative of the labour ministry were, however, in attendance.
Gbajabiamila, however, said the meeting would go behind closed doors after the opening remarks by the stakeholders.

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Only Your Votes’ll Decide Fate Of Candidates, INEC Reassures Nigerians

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured Nigerian voters that only their votes will be the sole determinant of the winners among the 15,322 candidates nationwide contesting in next year’s general election.
The commission reiterated its commitment to ensuring that it delivers a credible, free and fair election, reassuring that the votes of the electorate will definitely count.
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance in his keynote address at the Annual Conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, held in Lagos, yesterday.
He admitted that with the lifting of the ban on political campaigns, the tempo of political activities has increased with parties, candidates and their supporters commencing campaigns, rallies, processions and media advertisements to canvass the support of the electorate.
The chairman, however, warned that the commission will pay particular attention to the conduct of parties, candidates and their supporters, stressing that as the regulator, it will play its role to ensure compliance with the provision of the law as well as our guidelines and regulations.
“The 2023 general election is fast approaching. It is now 141 days to Election Day. Polling Units will open at 8:30 am on Saturday, February 25, 2023, for national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) and the same time on Saturday, March 11, 2023, for state elections (governorship and state assembly).
“Campaign in public by political parties officially commenced on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Therefore, the tempo of political activities has increased as parties, candidates and their supporters commence campaigns, rallies, processions and media advertisements to canvass the support of the electorate.
“The commission has published the final list of 15,322 candidates for the General Election contesting for 1,491 seats (one Presidential, 28 Governorship, 109 Senatorial, 360 House of Representatives and 993 State Assembly constituencies).
“I wish to restate once again the commitment of INEC to credible elections. Votes will continue to count and will be the sole determinant of the electoral outcome,” he assured.
The electoral umpire boss further explained that technological innovations introduced by the commission will guarantee and protect the sanctity of the choice made by Nigerians at the polls.
“For this reason, the commission has introduced many new innovations, supported by the deployment of appropriate technology, to protect the sanctity of the choice made by Nigerians at the polls ranging from voter registration to voter accreditation and result management,” he said.
“The deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) with its dual fingerprint and facial biometric accreditation process has ensured that only genuine voters are accredited to vote during election. This has curtailed the incidence of multiple voting and other sharp practices associated with voter accreditation during elections.
“The BVAS has come to stay and will be the only means by which voters will be accredited in the 2023 general election.
“Furthermore, the introduction of the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) Portal has made the result management procedure more transparent. Polling Unit results are now uploaded in real-time to the IReV portal for public view.
“This has enhanced the transparency, credibility and consequently public confidence in the outcome of elections. The IReV has come to stay and polling unit results will be uploaded to the portal in real-time in the 2023 general election,” he said.
Yakubu further emphasised that; “as campaigns commence, I also wish to remind political parties and candidates that you all signed the Peace Accord organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) in which you committed yourselves to peaceful electioneering campaign. I urge you to be guided by the letter and spirit of the accord.
“For our part, the commission will pay particular attention to the conduct of parties, candidates and their supporters. As a regulator, the commission will play its role to ensure compliance with the provision of the law as well as our guidelines and regulations.
“We will pay particular attention to a peaceful campaign devoid of abusive, intemperate and slanderous language as well as the use of innuendoes or insinuations likely to provoke a counter-reaction resulting in the breach of the peace.
“Similarly, we will pay special attention to the observance of limits on party and candidate finance. I urge political parties and candidates to carefully study the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and familiarise themselves with their obligations as well as the penalties under the law.
“As you are aware, elections are a multi-stakeholder activity. As the commission is doing its best to ensure a credible process, we also appeal to the media for a continuous partnership. Managing the electoral process for credible outcomes is the responsibility of all of us. As campaign activities get underway, the media will continue to play an important role. A lot of the activities will take place in the media of which the new media is a critical player.
“We must continue to work together against the spread of fake news, misinformation and disinformation that seek to create or exacerbate tension or de-legitimise processes and outcomes,” Yakubu charged.

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2023: Era Of Ballot Box Snatching Over, Banigo Insists …Lauds Wike For Reappointing Danagogo

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has expressed gratitude to Governor Nyesom Wike for the reappointment of Dr. Tammy Danagogo as Secretary to the State Government.
Banigo stated this during a meeting with leaders and critical stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor, who congratulated Danagogo for his re-appointment, described the re-appointment as well-deserved.
Banigo said she does not take lightly the call to represent Rivers West at the Senate, and noted that her kind of representation at the Upper Legislative Chambers would bring glory to God.
“I encourage you to tell your people to collect their PVCs, because this time around the votes will count, as the new Electoral Act does not allow what they did in 2019, they cannot try it as nobody can carry ballot boxes”, the deputy governor stressed.
In a related development, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has commended leaders of the PDP in Ahoada West Local Government Area, for keying into the Divine Kingdom Mandate.
Banigo made this commendation while meeting with them at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday, preparatory to the commencement of her campaigns in the upcoming elections.
She motivated the people to exercise their franchise, by collecting their PVCs to vote for credible candidates of the PDP.
“They should come out and vote, because this is our opportunity to chase out this bad All Progressives Congress-led government at the federal level, as they have brought so much untold suffering, untold hardship, bloodshed and kidnapping. We have seen the developmental strides of our governor so much development is going on in Rivers State, and we are poised to give you more”, Banigo added.

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Wike Signs Instrument To Withdraw Omehia’s Recognition As Ex-Gov, Today …Re-Appoints Danagogo As SSG

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, will today sign the official instrument to withdraw the recognition of Sir Celestine Omehia as former governor of the state.
A statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media to the Rivers State Governor, Kelvin Ebiri, yesterday, said that the ceremony would “take place at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Friday, 7th October, 2022 by 12 noon”.
The statement further read, “His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, is to sign the instrument on cancellation of the recognition of Sir Celestine Omehia as a former governor of Rivers State.
“The cancellation of the recognition is sequel to the resolution of the Rivers State House of Assembly adopted on Thursday, October 6, 2022, to derecognise Sir Celestine Omehia as a former governor of the state”, the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has approved the re-appointment of Dr Tammy Danagogo as the Secretary to the State Government.
A statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media to the Rivers State Governor, Kelvin Ebiri, last Wednesday, said that “the appointment takes immediate effect.”
It added, “His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has approved the re-appointment of Dr.Tammy Wenike Danagogo as the Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG).”

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