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Saraki praises Osinbajo’s reaction to DSS Invasion

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Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki Wednesday praised the acting President, Yemi Osibanjo’s decisive response towards the Tuesday National Assembly siege.

Osinbajo sacked the director-general of the country’s secret service, Lawal Musa Daura following the service’s operatives blockade of the National Assembly and described the siege as a gross violation of the constitutional order

“I thank the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his handling of the situation we were all confronted with yesterday,” Saraki said.

” Mr Acting President did the right thing. ” He affirmed.

Saraki further commended the acting president’s swift and decisive action by putting democracy first before party sentiment.

“His decisive action went a long way towards restoring confidence. It sent a powerful message that the DSS cannot be recklessly deployed against institutions of our democracy,” the Senate President stated.

Although Saraki accused the Nigerian government of being behind the siege, Osinbajo said the government had no foreknowledge of the action.

He described the “unauthorised takeover” of the National Assembly as “a gross violation of constitutional order” and “rule of law”.

The DSS has often been accused of high-handedness and abuses against perceived political opponents of the Buhari administration.

-GuardianNG

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2019 elections: Foreign observers self-funding

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Prof. Yakubu Mahmud, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has explained that foreign observers for the 2019 general elections would fund their activities, but would be provided with kits.

He said in Abuja on Friday that the commission had no prepared budgetary allocation for international observers coming to monitor the elections.

Some Civil Society Organisations, including the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), had frowned at the INEC’s budget for the 2019 general elections.

HURIWA described the INEC’s budget as “fraudulent, criminal and highly unsustainable. The budget for payment of foreign observers lacks credibility and should be discarded.”

It also said: “The N4.614 billion classified as miscellaneous expenses is fraudulent and must never be approved just as the win components of N134.427 billion for election operation cost and N22.660 billion for election administrative cost are duplication meant to conceal the cash that would inevitably be siphoned.’’

However, the INEC chairman insisted that there was no such budget for the international observers as being peddled in some quarters.

“I have had this question that we have prepared budget for international observers, there is no such thing. There is no line in the budget for international observers.

“What we have provided for are the kits, you know the jackets, caps, publication, that we give to international observers, the stickers that are fixed on their cars to be identified on Election Day.

“This is the standard practice. Each country that organises elections provides these facilities for those who monitor elections.

“But their accommodation, transportation will be borne by various election monitoring groups and not by the Nigerian government.’’

On possibility of postponing the 2019 general elections in view of the delay in the passage of the INEC’s budget for the elections by the National Assembly, Mahmud said there were no conditions under which elections should be postponed.

He said: “Under section 26 of the Electoral Act, the date is formed and fixed, February 16, 2019.

“We issued the timetable way in advance for the very first time in the history of our nation; citizens of Nigeria know when elections will take place one year in advance. It has never happen before.

“Secondly, also for the very first time in the history of our country, that citizens know the budget of the electoral commission, that budget has never been defended before the National Assembly, as citizens know line by line how much the commission proposed, what the money is going to be spent on.

“I think I am very happy with this process.’’(NAN)

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Saraki: I want Buhari’s job

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Senate President Bukola Saraki has confirmed he has been consulting and he is considering running against President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 2019 election.

He made the confirmation in a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg in Abuja.

Saraki who had evaded the question on his interest in the country’s number one position at a press conference last week, was more forthcoming in the interview:

“I am consulting and actively considering it,” Saraki, 56, said in the interview held at his residence in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

“I believe I can make the change,”  he added.

Since last week, the Senate President had visited two former Nigerian leaders, General Ibrahim Babangida and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo at their hilltop homes in Minna and Abeokuta. But he had been coy about his missions to the homes of the two former leaders, who are also opposed to President Muhammadu Buhari and had issued statements, asking him not to run next year.

After meeting Babangida, Saraki  tweeted that he only “dropped in” to pay his respects to “General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. Always happy to be with a father and leader”. In Abeokuta, he said he came to have a look at the monumental Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, which was formally opened in April 2017, the event which he said, he missed.

Saraki who switched from the ruling All Progressives Congress to his old party, the Peoples Democratic Party along with a dozen renegade senators in July, will need to secure the PDP nomination. And he has at least six aspirants to contend with.

Among them are Atiku Abubakar, a former vice-president, who quit the ruling party much earlier to the PDP; Ibrahim Dankwambo, governor of Gombe State, Ahmad Makarfi, a former senator and former governor of Kaduna State. There are also Sule Lamido, a former governor of Jigawa State; Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto state, who is yet to make a formal declaration of intent and Attahiru Bafarawa, also former governor of Sokoto state.

The party’s primary election is due between 5 October  and 6 October. Political pundits are predicting  a bruising contest among the aspirants.

Saraki had been at odds with Buhari and the APC leaders, since he emerged  as senate president in June 2015. He got the post by playing out many members of his party who were gathered elsewhere for a meeting with Buhari. He struck an alliance with the PDP to claim the position. In return, he traded the senate vice-presidency to the opposition senator, Ike Ekweremadu.

Saraki claimed in the interview with Bloomberg that investors and citizens have lost confidence in President Buhari. The latter claim has been punctured by the wave of victories recorded by the APC in governorship and senatorial bye elections in recent times.

Pundits also believed that investors could not have lost confidence in  Buhari’s administration, if it was able to raise record amounts of money in oversubscribed Eurobond sales and it is attracting foreign loans to rebuild rail, ports and power infrastructure, which the PDP abandoned in 16 years of running the country.

The Senate president in the interview said the blockade of the National Assembly gates by hooded DSS operatives on August 7,  was contrived by the executive  to impeach him, despite the prompt denial by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, the APC and and the sacking of DSS boss, Lawal Daura.

“If a government can go and lock up an arm of government — and it’s never happened in our history — we should all be very concerned,” Saraki said.

“We should not be surprised that they would use security agencies for elections.”

Saraki, who is now the national leader of the PDP, believes the party has learnt its lesson from the loss in 2015. And conversely, he  thinks the APC has  not learnt from its victory.

“While negotiating with the PDP “we listed a number of issues. We talked about how to sustain and improve the fight against corruption; the issue of providing more powers to the states; inclusion and having a more nationalistic approach on things we do; to continue to improve the environment that will ensure investments. We listed a number of items during the discussions with the PDP, and there is a written agreement to that. We trust that we can hold them to that.

“We would ensure that the party is strong on security. The APC too have not done well on the issue of security. We have the opportunity with the right kind of presidential candidate and president to provide the leadership for the party. The party has a good opportunity to lead the country in the right direction.” (NAN)

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No date yet for NASS to reconvene – Saraki, Dogara

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The leaders of the National Assembly(NASS) have said that there was no date yet for the National Asembly to reconvene to consider the  N242 billion virement for the 2019 elections.

The president of the Senate Dr Bukola Saraki and his counterpart in the House of Representatives  Yakubu Dogara, disclosed this in a statemnet jointly signed by their Special Advisers on Media and Public Affairs, Yusuph Olaniyonu and Turaki Hassan,

In the statement, they called on all members of the National Assembly as well as the general public to note that no date had been set for the reconvening of the Federal Legislature.

According to them, some relevant committees whose reports are supposed to be considered upon the reconvening of the National Assembly are yet to meet and as such there is no report to be considered.

“The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have directed that we inform all Senators, Honorable members and the public that a date has not been set for the reconvening of the Senate and the House of Representatives to consider the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 2019 elections budget request forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 17, 2018.

“The leadership of the two chambers had met and agreed to reconvene to consider the proposal this week before which a meeting between the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters and officials of the INEC must have held on or before Monday August 13, 2018.

“The joint committees were also expected to meet with the joint Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, Loans and Debts on the Eurobond loan request after which two reports would have been ready for presentation in the two chambers.

“However, no such meeting had taken place yet as a result of which both Senate and House of Representatives cannot reconvene as there is no report to consider.

“Until the Committees have a ready report for the consideration of the two chambers, it will be most irresponsible to recall members from recess especially those that may have travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj,” it said.

 

-NAN
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