Friday, 25 September 2015

Independence Of The Legislature And The Constitution By Okio Obono-Obla

It is settled law that the question of who is a candidate of any political party for any election remains the exclusive preserve of the political party. This time tested principle is recognition of the fact that a Political Party is supreme over its membership. This is the clearest indication of the concept of the supremacy of a Political Party at play.

It is well settled that a political party is a voluntary association and any member that joins a political party agrees to subscribe to the ideology of that political party, its ethos, rules, regulations and constitution.

If you join a political party you have invariably or unwittingly agreed to subsume your rights under that political party and such you are bound to obey its rules, regulations and constitution.
So if at any time a member of a political party thinks that he or she is not obligated or is not willing to obey any rule or regulation or directive or any provision in that party’s Constitution laid down by that political party by any of its organ such a member his bound to leave that political party.
A disciplined member of a political party is obligated to obey the rules or regulations or Constitution of a political party that he or she has subscribed to its membership voluntarily. A member of a political party cannot dictate to that political party in accordance with his whims and caprices but has to bow to the dictates of that political party.

It is well settled that all the political parties in the country have their Constitution. Indeed it is a mandatory constitutional requirement that any political association that applies to the Independent National Electoral Commission must prepare and file a constitution which must be approved by the Independent National Electoral Commission before that party can be registered.
Since I want to emphasize on the recent happenings in the political scene in the country where the issue of party supremacy and the right of the membership of the National Assembly to the choice of its leadership and independence of the National Assembly glaringly came into the fore I will draw example from the Constitution of the All Progressives Congress, APC, 2013 (as amended).
The preamble of the Constitution of the APC gives a cursory insight to what the concept of party supremacy is all about when it boldly proclaims the Supremacy of the Party, pursuant to Article 2 of the APC Constitution, thus:

‘Subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and any other Laws for the time being in force in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the provisions of this Constitution shall be supreme PROVIDED that where any Rule, Regulation or any other enactment of the Party is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, such a Rule, Regulation and Enactment shall, to the extent of its inconsistency, be null and void and of no effect whatsoever.’

See also Article 9.4 of the APC Constitution which provides thus:
“Members of the Party shall be obligated to affirm the party’s aims and objectives”
The pertinent question is: what is Party Supremacy? Adams Abonu in his essay in This Day Newspaper of 14th July, 2015, submitted thus:

“By party supremacy, one is referring to a principle where the interests (and manifestos) of a political party is placed ahead of interests of individuals, sectional interests or the interference of another political party. The concepts have been effectively applicable in the representative democracies the world over and had helped in the maturing of advanced democracies as in the United Kingdom and even neighbouring South Africa. The conception is wrapped in such regality of pundits and political activists but its sacredness remains intact…’’

It is therefore submitted that that the only snag when it comes to the question of whether or not a political party is supreme cover its membership is when such a position conflicts with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

The facts of the matter that recently brought the issue of the supremacy of a political party over its membership into public glare and attention is the election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives after the promulgation of the 8th Session of the National Assembly on the 9th June, 2015, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Before the commencement of the sitting of the both Chambers of the National Assembly there had been intense speculation and permutation in the media that the leadership of the APC was disposed to support the aspirations of Senator Lawan of Bornu State as Senate President and Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila of Lagos State as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The rumour and speculation came to pass when the APC leaders decided to hold a shadow election to select its favoured candidates for the President of the Senate and Speaker, House of Representatives, respectively.

However the decision exacerbated the crisis that was already rocking the Party as a result of the struggle by its various competing blocs and wings for the control of the leadership rung in the National Assembly.

This culminated in the decision of the Senator Sarki’s group to boycott the shadow election. The Senator Saraki’s group promptly entered into a deal with Senators elected under the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party and on the 9th June, 2015, while majority of the Senators belonging to the APC had thronged the International Conference Centre, Abuja, to hold a meeting with President Buhari they quickly held an election to elect Senator Saraki as the President of the Senate and Senator Ekeremadu of the PDP as the Deputy President of the Senate.

However, Honourable Yakubu Dogara of Bauchi State contrary to the position of the leadership of the APC insisted that he must contest for the Speakership of the House of Representatives.

At the floor of the House of the Representatives on the 9th June, 2015, in a keenly contested election, Honourable Dogara defeated narrowly Femi Gbajabiamila to emerge the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The defeat of Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila ruffled some feathers in the hierarchy of the APC and caused serious rift and tension in the party which took a lot of horse trading and negotiation between the competing blocs and factions within the APC to resolve.

It seems that the Party leadership decided that for peace to reign in the House of Representatives, the Speaker (Dogara’s group) should concede the position of Majority Leader of the House to Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila but this did not go down well Dogara’s group who saw the intervention of the leadership of the Party as an affront and compromising of the independence of the National Assembly.

Accordingly, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun wrote on the 23rd June, 2015, to Honourable Dogara instructing him on how those the Party leadership have decided to support for the positions of Majority Leader; Chief Whip; Deputy-Chief Whip; Deputy-Majority Leader of the House of Representatives should go, which request was turned down on the ground that the choice of the Principal Officers of the House must reflect the principle of Federal Character enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (supra).

The Party leadership of the APC also wrote a similar letter to the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, recommending Senators to occupy the principal positions in the Senate. The letter recommended Ahmed Lawan as Senate Leader; George Akume, Deputy Senate Leader; Olusola Adeyeye as Chief Whip and Abu Ibrahim as Deputy Whip. However, on the 24th June, 2015 the Senate President, Dr. Saraki, ruled out of order Senator Gbenga Ashafa’ s Motion to the effect that the letter of the National Chairman of APC should be read on the floor of the Senate.

While the Senate had its way and refused to appoint the principal officers recommended by the National Chairman of APC in his letter dated 23rd June, 2015, the Speaker of the House of Representatives finally bowed to the wishes of the party and allowed its preferred choice of Femi Gbajabiamila as Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.

While the crisis over the choice of the principal officers of the National Assembly raged, two schools of thought clearly emerged:

One of the schools agreed with the position of the leadership of the APC that the choice of its preferred candidates for the leadership of the National Assembly is based on the concept of party supremacy enshrined in its Constitution.

However the other school of thought insisted that recommending preferred Senators and members of the House of Representatives to be appointed as Principal Officers of the National Assembly is tantamount to interfering with the independence of the National Assembly.

The apposite question will then be: Is the principle of Party Supremacy a compromise on the independence of the legislature?

I do not think so. It is well settled that the Legislature is the branch of government that is constitutionally vested with the power of law making.

It is also well settled that the principle of Separation of Powers among the three branches of government namely: the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary is enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

While Article 2 of the APC Constitution clearly espouses the principles of Supremacy of the Party, it also bows to the Supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amend) over the said Constitution, Rules and Regulations of the Party.

However, I do not see any compromising or interfering posture of the APC with the independence of the National Assembly because the leadership of the APC insisted that its choice of candidates have to become the Principal Officers of the National Assembly.

All over the world, it is a common practice for political parties to insist that certain positions in the Parliament should be given to its preferred candidates in order to maintain its internal cohesion and discipline.

The simple directive of the leadership of the APC to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives recommending its preferred candidates in accordance with the precedent and practice the world over does not in any way convey an indication that the independence of the legislature was intended to be compromised as a law making body and a constitutional watch dog of the Executive Branch of government as enshrined in the Constitution.
In any event, the independence of these three organs of government is not sacrosanct. In theory the three branches of government are separate and have different responsibilities and functions but in practice we see a lot of duplications and over lapping of the responsibilities and functions among the three organs meant to have separation of powers.

Ilorin Attack: Saraki Reportedly Upset With Kwara Governor; You Were Warned, Governor Responds

Sanate President Bukola Saraki, who stoned yesterday with rocks and water sachets by an irate mob at the Eid Prayer Grounds in Ilorin, Kwara State, has accused Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of leaving him vulnerable and open to attack, an aide of the governor has told SaharaReporters.

Our source added that Governor Ahmed confided in aides and the traditional ruler of Ilorin that the Senate President made himself the target of furious crowd because he failed to listen to security reports and advice urging him to stay away from Ilorin during the Sallah holiday.

A security source corroborated the governor’s sentiment. According to him, security agencies in the state had been aware of public anger against the governor and Mr. Saraki, especially as information circulated among residents about the size of the senator’s assets and personal wealth. He added that many people in the state, among them unemployed youth and workers who are owed arrears of salaries, felt that the Saraki family had exploited them for years.

A reporter in the state also told SaharaReporters that rumors circulated widely that Governor Ahmed had given Mr. Saraki N1 billion from Federal bailout funds meant to clear several months of salary arrears to workers. “Whether it’s true or not, the rumors were making the rounds. And they made many people incensed against the governor and Senator Saraki,” the reporter said.

Other sources in the state disclosed that a few local imams (Islamic preachers), shocked by media reports about Mr. Saraki’s obscene wealth, revealed in his past asset declarations, preached about the senator’s greed.

“Once we heard what the preachers were saying in mosques, we warned the governor [Ahmed] to avoid any public outing as it was clear that people [were] angry and waiting to attack him and his godfather, former Governor Saraki,” one of our security sources said.

He added that, days before the Sallah festivities, security agents had seen piles of stones hidden in drainages around the prayer ground, and told the governor about it.

An aide of the governor told SaharaReporters that Governor Ahmed, in turn, communicated his concerns to Mr. Saraki in Abuja. “But Senator Saraki continued to feel that he was popular in Kwara State, especially in Ilorin,” said the governor’s aide. “He would not agree to exercise caution because he wanted to show his popularity after his ego was bruised at the Code of Conduct Bureau,” the aide added. Mr. Saraki was last week arraigned at a tribunal for false declaration of assets.

Ignoring all security warnings, the Senate President reportedly ordered the governor to arrange a series of high profile events for him in the state capital. The events proposed by the embattled senator included meet and greet at the Ilorin Airport on his arrival in the state.

A few days before Senator Saraki’s arrival, the airwaves were saturated with radio announcements calling on politicians and civil servants in the state to welcome the former governor at the airport. In the end, the event was abruptly canceled when security agencies warned that protesters were planning to launch an attack on Mr. Saraki at the airport.

SaharaReporters learned that, a night before the Sallah prayers, Governor Ahmed told Senator Saraki that he would not attend Eid prayers at the Ilorin praying grounds on account of adverse security reports. But Mr. Saraki was not deterred, said our sources. Instead, he ordered his aides to scout the length and breadth of Ilorin and surrounding towns in order to mobilize a huge crowd to show up and sing his praises at the prayer grounds.

On Sallah, Governor Ahmed headed for his hometown, avoiding showing up in Ilorin.
Meanwhile, Mr. Saraki arrived at the venue where he was initially serenaded by a retinue of hired praise singers. However, shortly after the formal prayer events started, with the Chief Imam presiding, and the Emir of Ilorin, Sulu Gambari, next to him, protesters started shouting “Ole! Ole!” (meaning thief in Yoruba). Pandemonium soon ensued as the angry crowd began hurling rocks at the VIP tent. Prayers were aborted as Mr. Saraki and a coterie of other religious and political officials were smuggled out of the prayer grounds. The police, army and civil defense agents had a hectic time clearing the way for the dignitaries to escape. Several eyewitnesses disclosed that the security agents fired teargas and live bullets to scare the rampaging protesters.

In a public relations stunt, Senator Saraki quickly arranged a short press conference where some hired youth chanted his praise  in the background as he spoke for a minute or two before he fled.

Our source, who is an aide of the governor, told SaharaReporters that Mr. Saraki was also displeased with the governor’s media team for issuing a statement condemning the attack on Senator Saraki and other VIPs. The embattled Senator Saraki felt that the statement undermined his earlier denial that he was not the target of the stone-throwing protesters.

Mr. Saraki had handpicked Mr. Ahmed to succeed him as the governor of Kwara State. State workers are being owed salaries for the last five months, a development that is seen as the result of Mr. Saraki’s financial mismanagement during his eight-year stint as state governor.

Culled from:Abusidiqu

Thursday, 24 September 2015

MY Ordeal In The Hand Of Kidnappers- Olu Falae

Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae, who was freed after spending four days in captivity, yesterday recounted his ordeal. Falae, who reunited with his family in Akure and was welcomed home by a crowd, said he slept on the bare floor for four days.

The septuagenarian added that he trekked more than 30 kilometres from his Ilado farm in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State, where he was abducted, to a place in Owo Local Government Area where he was kept during his captivity.

The former SGF was kidnapped on Monday by suspected Fulani herdsmen who stormed his farm in Ilado. But yesterday, Falae returned to his home in Akure, the state capital, in company with the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, who led the rescue team. Arase and the family said no ransom was paid to the kidnappers before Falae was released.

However, Falae, who was visibly worried, said he did not sleep in one location during the four days he was in captivity. His kidnappers moved him from one location to another to avoid being caught by law enforcement agents.

He said his abductors were monitoring media reports and were moving him from one location to another within four hours, to avoid being detected. He said he suspected that the kidnappers were using the proceeds from their various crimes to fund Boko Haram as they told him that the N2 million being offered by his family, instead of the N100 million they initially demanded, was not enough to do anything.

Arase, who accompanied Falae to his house, said the police had been working to free the former SGF since his abduction and he was freed without anybody paying ransom to the kidnappers. He added that the police were working round the clock to stem kidnappings and other crimes. He said: “A security challenge like this is a new trend; it is not only localised in Nigeria, but it is a global thing. We are going to develop a strategy that hoodlums will never overwhelm a state.

It is not possible, we are going to interdict them, we are going to degrade them and catch them.”
On whether the police swung into action because of the order by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday that they should do everything necessary to rescue Falae, Arase said they had been on the case since Monday.

He added that some suspects had been arrested in connection with the incident, but declined to disclose how many. Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, was happy that Falae was released without any harm to him. He said the government was working with security agencies to make sure such criminality is reduced in the state.

Culled from:Telegraph

Attempt To Distort Facts On The Alleged Missing $2.8bn From NNPC Account Under Buhari Military Regime

I was alarmed this morning when I received a message from whatsapp from one my numerous contacts suggesting that the current travails of the Senate President, Dr Abubukar Bukola Saraki is being masterminded by President Muhammadu Buhari because his father, late Dr. Olusola Saraki as Senate Leader in the 1980s headed a Committee that allegedly indicted the then General Muhammadu Buhari!

Nothing can be farther from the truth. I know I am not the Spokesman of President Buhari but as a conscientious citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I am duty bound to refute with all my mighty such  devilish efforts to peddle falsehood and plain lies against the person of  President Buhari by some faceless hirelings on the pay roll of some corrupt mandarins who have deservedly found themselves at the wrong side of the law to ?pull wood over the eyes of gullible Nigerians who were not born in the 1980s.

At least I was in Secondary School when the brohaha over the alleged missing $2.8 billion broke out in the nation political firmament so I can vividly give an account of what The administration of President Shehu Shagari constituted a Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by the late Honourable Justice Ayo Irikefe to probe the alleged missing $2.8 billion from NNPC account in Midlands Bank London. The Commission found that no such money was missing from NNPC account. The Commission totally enoxerated the then General Muhammadu Buhari.

It is therefore preposterous, ridiculous and indeed a lie from the pit of hell for anybody to suggest that President Muhammadu Buhari is witch hunting Dr. Abubukar Bukola Saraki to settle scores with him because his father, Dr. Abubukar Saraki as Senate Leader in 1980 headed a Senate Committee that purportedly indicted General Buhari over the so called missing $2.8 billion NNPC money.

The truth of the matter is that the Senate never conducted a hearing on the matter as the government of the then President Shagari promptly constituted the Justice Irikefe’ Judicial Commission of Inquiry to probe the alleged missing $2.8 billion as soon as the matter was raised on the floor of the Senate. Justice Ayo Irikefe was to become the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Report of the Irikefe’s Commission and the White Paper issued by the administration of the then President Shehu Shagari can be accessed in the archives of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

It will do everybody good if Dr. Saraki would allow his lawyers to defend him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal over the allegations levelled against him rather than wasting time and resources  employing and deploying Internet attack dogs to carry out a smear campaign President Buhari. !
Culled from:Abusidiqu

How Ilorin Rose Against Saraki With Stones And Chants Of Thief! Thief!!, By Jogbojogbo Abdulrahman

Today, the Muslim Ummah celebrated.
Today, in Ilorin, the Eid organisers disappointed and displayed colossal incompetence.
Today, Mr. Saraki was humiliated.

All around the world, Muslims celebrated and gathered at several Eid grounds to worship. It was no different in Ilorin, home to great Islamic scholars. What was different however, was that for the first time in recent history, the organisation was so bad that many people left without praying. People far off from the Imam could not link up to him as a result of bad/insufficient speakers.

The disappointment I felt is the same the man beside me must have felt when shortly before the prayers he was lamenting: “First, they said, we were uneducated, so we went to school. Now that we’ve gone to school, there are no jobs for us. The few that have jobs have not been paid for monthsShortly after the prayers, I noticed commotion. There were water sachets and stones flying in the air – all directed at the direction where Mr. Saraki, the Imam and other VIPs were seated.

Shouts of “thief, thief” rented the air. The people weren’t happy, pent up discontent and anger was being let loose. Soon, men in military uniforms were dispatched. They were throwing sticks indiscriminately into the crowd and chasing people. Soon, the crowd was gassed (tear gas) so that the VIPs could leave without getting harmed.

In Ilorin, the Eid ground is not just a praying field, it is a common denominator, a place where the high and low must visit at least twice a year so far as they’re Muslims. The behaviour of the people at eids over the years have been a crude measure of political and social stability. Today, the needle went off radar, today Ilorin showed that she was angry.

It is said that politicians know no shame, I doubt if behind the black windows and heavy military barricades he hid, Mr. Saraki wouldn’t feel shame and worry.

Whether or not Ilorin was right to direct their anger at Mr Saraki is another issue.
One thing that isn’t debatable is that today Ilorin was roused, angry, and mad at authority.
Culled from:Abusidiqu

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Eid-el-Kabir And Its Significance

THE Islamic calendar turns another leaf with today’s celebration of the festival of Rams, also known as Eid-el-Kabir or Eid-el-Adha. It is a bit discomforting that most Nigerians, even Muslims who should know better, tend to perceive Eid-el-kabir as an occasion mainly for merriment and feasting, more so as the rams slaughtered are to be consumed with friends and neighbours. Nothing can be farther from the truth, as a reflection of the history of the festival reveals.

Firstly, this occasion had its origin in the days of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) who, as both the Holy Quran and the Holy Bible record was called upon by God to sacrifice Ishmael, his only son at the time, for the Almighty. The request came in frequent visions and dreams, and Ibrahim (may Allah’s peace be upon him), being God-fearing, decided to fulfill the demand. Surely, that decision, along with the surrounding circumstances, is anything but cheery. And the apprehension was further underlined by the fact that Ishmael knew that he was to be slaughtered as sacrifice, yet made no move to run away; thus resigning himself to the will of Almighty Allah.

Needless tussle over new Ooni (1)

On Thursday, October 2, 2014, I was in the ancient town of Ile-Ife to attend the wake keep of Olori Beatrice Omosigho Adedapo Aderemi, the wife of late Prince Adedapo Morounfolu Aderemi, the first son of the late Ooni of Ife, the revered Sir Adesoji Aderemi. Prince Adedapo died in October 1963 at the young age of 39.

After the wake keep which held at the Aderemi’s family house,  popularly known as Glass House  in Ile-Ife, I drove to Oja Ife (Ife Market or Oba Market) located some walking distance from the palace of the Ooni of Ife. I went there just to fraternise with Bunmi Adegoke, my childhood friend and old school mate, who retired from Union Bank as a Manager some years back and now into a distribution business. Few years ago, he bagged the traditional title of Sooko, which literally stands for the head of a branch of a ruling house in Ife. Sooko Bunmi Adegoke is from the Lafogido Ruling House in Ife. Altogether, there are more than 40 Sookos in Ife.

The Economy, Capital Market And Nigerians Expectation From Buhari

As the economy continues to face challenges which demand innovative and radical policies, the stakes are high on President Muhammadu Buhari. He is expected to provide inspiring leadership and deliver on key mandates, ensuring security of lives and property, galvanise state resources to engender prosperity, keep a watchful eye and maintain rigorous stewardship over federal treasury, tax collection, public service recruitment and development and deliver services that are responsive to citizens’ need, be accountable and ensure public trust in government. Nigeria is expected to be among the top 20 economies in the world with a minimum GDP of N144tn (US$900bn) and a GDP per capita income of no less than N640,000 (US$4,000) per annum by 2020 and the priority areas to achieve this target include physical infrastructure, real sector development, human capital development and governance. The current stock of core infrastructure in Nigeria is estimated to be about 30-40 per cent of the GDP, which is said to be far below the international bench mark of 70 per cent of the GDP even as experts believe Vision 20:2020 target may not be realisable outside the mechanism of the capital market which is one of the most important factors of funding infrastructure with strong socio-economic impact. Forward looking nations explore the mechanism of the capital market to drive economic growth and development.

Just A Passing Glance At Buharinomics, By Simon Kolawole

If anyone needed a good hint on President Muhammadu Buhari’s likely economic policy direction, he has given one by declaring that there will be “no more devaluation of the naira”. It is the clearest signal yet that the exchange rate policy may not be formulated by the monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). It is going to be determined, effectively,from Aso Rock. Thus, the exchange rate may have no direct connection to the interplay of demand and supply in the currency market. Is this good or bad? Actually, every policy has its good and bad sides, but I honestly don’t know how well Buhari’s pronouncement will work out. Things could even get messier.

Listen carefully to Buhari: “The naira has been devalued.It used to be around 160, and now it is hovering around 200 and above and I don’t think it is healthy for us to have the naira devalued further. That’s why we are getting the central bank to make modifications in terms of making foreign exchange available to essential services, industries, spare parts, essential raw materials and so on – but things like toothpick and rice, Nigeria can produce enough of those. We don’t need to give our hard currency on that but those who insist on having toothpick from Europe or from China, instead of using Nigerian toothpick, they can go and source their foreign exchange.”

5 Questions Nigerians Should Ask Regarding Saraki’s Trial By Shade Afolabi

False accusations are of particular interest to sceptics and the media houses because scepticism has often been at the forefront of lending voice to the wrongly accused. In climes like ours, it is important as  concerned citizens to take a critical look at the allegations made by the Code of Conduct Bureau against the Senate President Bukola Saraki, and the increasingly refined methods adopted by those in support of seeking facts. I hereby  state the reasons why the charges against Dr. Bukola Saraki by the Code of Conduct Bureau/Tribunal (CCB/CCT) are on a baseless ground:

1. Going by the available evidence, Bukola Saraki, has clearly declared his assets since 2003, when he ran for governor of Kwara State. With countless assets declared, and no other inconsistency found, Nigerians must ask: “Why did the CCB suddenly find this particular asset declaration from 2003 worthy of note?” Given that the declaration in question was for a different office than the office that he (Saraki), is currently occupying.