• Opeyemi: List will reach Senate in 48 hours • Senate in rowdy session as Oshiomhole apologises over looting allegation against ninth Assembly
• Ex-UNILAG VC cautions Tinubu, others on long convoys in midst of hardship • Lawmakers ask FG to intervene, halt proposed hike in electricity tariff by DisCos
Again, the much-anticipated ministerial list of President Bola Tinubu that was earlier promoted to be unveiled yesterday at the Senate, was postponed until the last day allowed by the Constitution, Thursday, July 27, which marks 60 days after the President’s inauguration.
Expectations had been high last week that the Senate read out the President’s cabinet list in commencement of the Ministers-nominees screening, but after entering into a closed session on Thursday, the lawmakers returned to plenary and stood down discussion on the matter.
Yesterday, the issue was again pushed back on the order paper after the Majority Leader, Senator Bamidele Opeyemi, moved the motion to postpone the announcement without reason during plenary, while Senator Simon Davou Mwadkwon, the Minority Leader, seconded the move to postpone the announcement until the next legislative session.
President Tinubu, it was gathered, had submitted the list to the Senate last week, but the Senate purportedly postponed the announcement owing to modifications to the list.
However, hopes that the list will be unveiled today (Wednesday) was further dashed when Bamidele, hours later, said the list will be received by the Senate in the next 48 hours, which takes the presentation to tomorrow.
Bamidele, who disclosed this at a lecture to mark his diamond jubilee birthday and book presentation in Abuja, said President Tinubu personally told him earlier in the morning when he called to greet him on his 60th birthday anniversary.
He said the President called him on the phone at 10:03a.m. that he will not be able to attend the birthday lecture and book presentation because of the communication he needed to submit to the Senate in the next 48 hours.
Quoting Tinubu, Bamidele said: “Let me tell you and you must encourage me; I need to make myself unavailable for the next 48 hours because a correspondence must come to the Senate, a very crucial correspondence.
“So Mr. President prayed for me. We should tell the rest of Nigerians to pray for him to be able to make the right decision within the next 24 hours so that when Nigerians hear the list of his ministers, they will say ‘yes, this is uncommon’. Join us to pray for Mr. President. He needed to be away from any kind of influence or interference.”
Meanwhile, speaking at the event, the guest lecturer and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Toyin Ogundipe, lamented the high cost of governance and expensive lifestyle of political office-holders, calling for sacrifice on their part before ordinary Nigerians would be able to do the same.
He cited an example of a situation where both Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) are part of the convoy of the President and the Vice President, saying they have no business in the convoys once the police are in the motorcade.
The former VC said that there was the need for political office-holders to reduce the number of vehicles in their convoy to show to Nigerians that they feel their pains at this period .
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, lamented that governors in Nigeria always fight their predecessors immediately when they take charge. He applauded the celebrant for his loyalty to President Tinubu for over 30 years when he served as an aide to him in the National Assembly in 1992.
EARLIER, the Senate had witnessed another rowdy session over allegations made by Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC, Edo North) on a national television interview when he accused senators of the ninth Assembly, who did not return, of looting their offices at the end of their tenure last month.
A point of order moved by Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Ogun West), had indicated his privilege was breached by Oshiomhole’s allegation. He called on Oshiomhole to apologise to the Senate for saying senators looted their offices. Senator Adamu Aliero (PDP, Kebbi Central) supported Adeola on the motion.
Following the revelation, Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno), moved that the Senate should resolve into an executive session to deliberate on the ‘sensitive’ matter.
But when the motion to go into closed-door session was put to voice vote, Senators opted that the matter be discussed at plenary. At this point, Senate President Akpabio, called on Oshiomhole to approach the chair. After a brief talk, Akpabio called on Oshiomhole to state his own side of the matter.
Oshiomhole, in his submission, apologised for his comment, saying he defended the Senate during his television interview under reference, rather than indicting Senators of looting their offices.
About 70 per cent of the members of the ninth National Assembly did not return to the 10th session inaugurated on June 13. In the interview on Channels Television on Sunday, Oshiomhole accused the former senators and House of Representatives members of vandalising and looting some of the equipment in their offices when leaving. The senator disclosed that television sets, carpets and chairs were carted away leaving the offices empty for the new lawmakers.
“I was shocked by the level of vandalisation of properties of the National Assembly. I had to use my money to buy some gadgets and someone also decided to deliver to me a printer and laptop to use in my office. I had to buy the carpet and pay the cost of fixing it. I had to repaint my office. I will produce you the receipt. People told me there is also the same level of vandalisation in the
House Representatives,” Oshiomhole stated.
Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo State, claimed he made the comment while speaking against the backdrop of the N70 billion allocated to support the working conditions of the National
“I didn’t address social media, I spoke with a respected TV station. The question was put to me by the TV host as to what justified the appropriation for the comfort of the National Assembly,” he said.
He explained that what he meant was that many of his colleagues in the 10th Senate had to use their personal money to get new equipment in their offices because the offices were empty at the time they were inaugurated into the Senate.
“The allegation was made by the TV host, at no time have I ever said the senators looted their offices. What I said is that offices were vandalised.
“Having listened to my explanation, that was not the intention and that was not my statement and to those who think I have offended them, I apologise because I cannot leave my home and go to the media to abuse anybody,” he said.
The Senate President stressed that the N70 billion allocated to the National Assembly was not for palliatives but to assist lawmakers replace some of the things that needed to be in their offices.
ALSO, during yesterday’s plenary, the Senate urged the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to halt their proposed tariff increase and “allow Nigerians to breathe.”
The Senate also urged DisCos to henceforth allow Nigerian communities to recover their cost of buying electricity transformers before asking them to pay bills. It also called a halt to estimated billing by urgently supplying all electricity consumers with prepaid meters at affordable rates across the country.
The motion was moved by Senator Yunus Abiodun Akintunde (APC, Oyo Central). After due debate on the motion, the Senate resolved to: “Call on the Federal Government to intervene and halt the proposed increase in electricity tariff by the Discos; urge NERC to decentralize the proposed engagement with stakeholders scheduled for Abuja to the six geopolitical zones of the federation for effective participation by all; and also urge NERC to thoroughly look into the rate review applications filed by the DisCos, taking into consideration the interests of citizens, affordability, and the need for improved service delivery.
BREAKING NEWS: PDP’s Diri Wins Bayelsa Gov Election
The incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Douye Diri, has been declared the winner of the State governorship election held last Saturday.
The Returning Officer, Prof Faruq Kuta, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Of Technology, Minna, announced Diri winner of the poll at the collation centre of the election on Monday.
Diri polled 175,196 to defeat his closest rival, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 110,108 votes while the Labour Party polled 905 votes.
Plateau: Protesters Storm S’ Court Over Sack Of Four PDP Members From NASS
Over 1000 protesters, on Monday, besieged the Supreme Court to register their displeasure over the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which sacked four members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State, from the National Assembly, based on a pre-election dispute.
The placard and banner-wielding groups, under the aegis of Coalition for Justice in Africa, CJA, submitted a protest letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
According to the protesters, the appellate court, by its judgement, thwarted the wish of electorates in Plateau state, when it declared candidates that lost the National Assembly elections that held on February 25, as winners of the legislative seats.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the protest letter was submitted to the CJN, the National President of the CJA, Dr. Daniel Okwa, maintained that the judgement of the appellate court was capable of causing a breakdown of law and order in the state.
He said the group was at the apex court to seek the intervention of the CJN, alleging that the verdicts that removed all the PDP federal lawmakers were influenced by some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The protest letter, which was obtained by Vanguard, read in part: “The Coalition for Truth and Justice believes that the judgment of the Appeal Court in Abuja is a case of injustice, else, how could one explain a situation where lawmakers of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would boast and predict the outcome of the Court of Appeal judgment even before the pronouncement.
“This is unacceptable and indicates that the justice regime in Nigeria has been thrown to the dogs. What happened in Plateau State is an aberration of immeasurable proportion. There is a distinction between a pre-election matter and a post-election matter.
“The Supreme Court has established this fact on several occasions. It is now a wonder why the Appeal Court would act otherwise and in a despicable manner that tends to truncate our nascent democracy.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice entirely condemns the actions of the justices of the Appeal Court that sat in Abuja. They displayed insensitivity to the electoral choices of the people. This is a worrisome trend that the Chief Justice of Nigeria must address.
“This is on the heels that the Judiciary, the world over, is regarded as the last hope of the commoner. This presupposes that it is the only place the commoner can get justice. The function of the Judiciary is not to twist the truth or fabricate facts but to interpret the law. The consequence of the interpretation of the law is justice.
“However, what played out in Plateau state negates the Judiciary’s position as the common’s last hope. The Judiciary is for sale to the highest bidder in Nigeria, if such positions could be taken without recourse to the implication of such on the psychological state of the people.
“The Coalition for Truth and Justice is using this protest to drive the point that justice in Nigeria should not be reserved for a section of the country or any political party. What happened in Plateau should not be allowed to stand or repeat itself. The implication of such is that the reputation of the judicial arm of government would be eroded.”
It will be recalled that the appellate court had on November 7, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, okayed the nullification of the election of a Senator and three members of the House of Representatives in the state that emerged on the platform of the PDP.
The panel based its decision on failure of the PDP to fully comply with a court that was made in 2022, which it said directed the party to conduct congress in the 17 Local Government Areas in the state.
It, therefore, held that though the lawmakers won their respective seats during the National Assembly election that held on February 25, all the scores that were credited them, amounted to wasted votes.
It ordered that candidates that got the second majority lawful votes at the election, should be sworn in as winners of the legislative seats.
Canada’s Abuja, Lagos Visa Centres Open – High Commission
The Canadian High Commission in Nigeria has said its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open for the processing of immigration, refugee and citizenship applications.
The Canadian High Commission had on Tuesday announced the suspension of operations in its Abuja office following a fire incident at its generator house, which claimed two lives on Monday.
Nigerians had expressed fear that the operations suspension would hamper visa application processes.
But in a statement posted on its X handle on Thursday, the Canadian High Commission clarified that its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open and operational.
In the statement by its public affairs staff, Demilade Kosemani, the commission said, “As we continue to mourn the passing of our dear colleague from the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, please note the following information below:
“Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada clients: processing of applications continues. Regardless of the suspension of operations at the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, the Visa Application Centres in Abuja and Lagos remain open.”
Meanwhile, a travel agency, , TMT Travels and Tours Limited, has sympathised with the Canadian High Commission over the Monday tragic fire incident.
In a statement on Thursday the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Collins Onukwubiri, said, “We at TMT Travels and Tours Limited shares in the grief and sense of loss of the Canadian embassy in Abuja. The partial burning of the Canadian embassy in Abuja and the death of two workers there was most unfortunate.
“Canada, as a major player in the Nigeria’s travel and tours business, is an integral player in Nigeria’s economy. We know how devastating this unfortunate incident is to them but we want to say that we stand with them in this time and always. We specially condole with the families of the two persons who died in the process.”