When Nigerian lawmakers shun work. All the high-wire politics and why it matters
Nigerian lawmakers have failed to fix a specific date to reconvene from the holidays as generally thought of in view of some pressing state matters.
The news that broke Tuesday did not entirely come as a a surprise. The preceding days had seen members of Nigeria’s National Assembly speaking tongue-in-cheek with respect to returning work.
It’s now official that the upper and lower legislative houses will not be reconvening anytime soon. By refusing to fix a specific date, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, literally shut the doors indefinitely.
In a joint statement Tuesday, the National Assembly leadership stated that the existing conditions were not conducive for them to reconvene and consider the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 2019 elections budget request forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 17, 2018.
Amongst others, the lawmakers argued that a procedural hitch existed as the joint Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, Loans and Debts on the Eurobond loan must meet as expected, after which both reports would would be ready for presentation to the two chambers.
“…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,” the statement said.
Sources familiar with the developments, however, maintain that open threats by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to impeach the Senate President on grounds of having defected to the main opposition and minority party (PDP) are real reason for continued closure of the National Assembly.
This position was reinforced Tuesday as APC dug into the trenches.
“While Saraki and his cohorts continue to postpone their doomsday regarding the imminent Senate leadership change, the yet-to-be considered 2019 budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC is dangerously delayed. Clearly, Saraki’s actions as Senate President now bother on high treason”, Yekini Nabena, APC’s Acting National Publicity Secretary, said in a statement.
The party further alleged plans by PDP to harm its members and also bribe them to give up the plot to remove Saraki.
“We call on security agents to protect APC Senators. If any Senator is harmed, the PDP and Saraki should be held directly responsible. We call on security agencies to also closely monitor the activities of some PDP leaders including Saraki because the plan to attack APC Senators is real and imminent.
“We were informed that the plot was hatched in the private residence of a PDP leader in Maitama-Abuja on Sunday night. The meeting was attended by 15 pro-Saraki Senators including the Senate President himself,” the statement read.
It added, “This revelation has not come to us as a surprise because the Senate President through proxies has made several failed attempts to buy over APC Senators with N100million each.
“As a Party, we don’t believe in inducing lawmakers to achieve our legitimate goal of removing Saraki as Senate President. We will get the support of some PDP Senators to get the required 2/3 vote and impeach Saraki. We are already talking to some of PDP Senators who believe and support the direction of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to achieve our legitimate goal.
Read Also: All you want to know about Egypt’s silence on 2013 murder of 817 protesters in one day
“We reiterate our call for Saraki’s immediate resignation as Senate President. He cannot lead the APC majority Senate. But if he fails to resign honourably, we will impeach him. The PDP’s propaganda and threat of violence cannot save him.
“As Chairman of the 8th National Assembly, Saraki’s decision not to reconvene the National Assembly done with the support of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara further buttresses our position that Saraki is ever ready to pursue his selfish interests over National Interest. This is another brazen display of his penchant for abuse of powers and sabotage of government, however the cost and implication.”
While the ruling party alludes to constitutional means of removing Saraki, some analysts claim that the stance amounts to mere posturing as the APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, has vigorously warned that the party would do anything to disgrace the Senate President out of office.
“The only way he can avoid impeachment is to either resign or return to the majority party- even then we will not accept him, he should remain where he is.
“No amount of blackmail or sponsored analysts can stop his removal,” Oshiomhole was quoted as saying Tuesday.
One analyst said, “APC’s resort to strong-arm tactics is understandable. If they manage to get rid of Saraki by whatever means, he would have little or no time to fight back as the force of the federal might will be too much to bear.
“In the circumstance, the embattled Senate President is left with no choice but to fight till the end as the APC leadership is allowing no room for compromise or negotiations.
“Remember, this whole fight is about which party takes the Presidency in 2019. With the gale of defections, PDP is sufficiently armed to give APC a good run, and would do anything as well, to prop Saraki and force a stalemate. This is where we are at the moment,” he said.
South Africa: Opposition, DA want findings on alleged arms supply to Russia public
South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance has vowed to challenge the decision by the presidency to keep from the public, findings from recent arm supply allegations.
The follows allegations by United States Ambassador, Reuben Brigety that South Africa provided ammunition to Russia by ship. Brigety said the US was sure that contrary to its public claim of being non-aligned in the Russia/Ukraine crisis, South Africa supplied arms to Vladimir Putin’s army in December.
Following the allegation, President Ramaphosa launched an investigation to be conducted by an independent body which will be led by retired Deputy Justice Phineas Mojapelo, advocate Leah Gcabashe, and former justice minister Enver Surty. Meanwhile, his spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya said the government would withhold the panel’s findings.
Magwenya said the terms of reference for the inquiry would not be gazetted or published.
“The investigation covers issues of national security and classified information, which is protected from disclosure,” he said.
“This inquiry has been instituted in a similar manner to the inquiry that investigated the July 2021 riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and the value of its report remains unchallenged.
“The panel will be supported in gathering the information that is necessary to fulfil its mandate by letters from the president instructing all relevant government entities as identified by the panel to cooperate fully with the panel or face disciplinary sanction,” he said.
“The work of the panel will not be public, nor will its report be made public. The president will speak to any actions that may result with respect to national security. This is provided for within our secrecy laws as per the nature of this matter,” he added.
In a statement, the DA said it would not ” leave this secrecy unchallenged. We have already submitted an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain a copy of the panel’s terms of reference. And we are obtaining legal advice to challenge Ramaphosa’s plan to hide the report once it is complete.”
The party leader, John Steenhuisen argued that keeping the report private “undermines the ability of prosecutors and the public to hold guilty parties accountable for any such violations of the law”.
“Hiding this report from public view will rob the people of South Africa – and of the world – of the opportunity to see the full facts of this matter.
“Refusing to disclose the complete picture of how the ANC-led government allegedly smuggled weapons to arm Russia’s war in Ukraine and various parts of Africa will also undermine the very purpose of the investigation.”
Zimbabwe’s electoral commission, ZEC promises to publicise voters’ register
The electoral commission in Zimbabwe said it would soon publish the voters’ register for the forthcoming general elections.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) also assured the public of a fair election and promised to rectify anomalies that were observed during the voters’ inspection exercise.
The head of ZEC, Utloile Silaigwana made the position known when he announced the end of the mop-up voter registration exercise on Friday.
Silaigwana further revealed that the Nomination court would sit on 21 June and thereafter the voters’ roll would be accessible to candidates.
There are contentions about the neutrality of the electoral commission. In March, a member of the opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Allan Markham filed a court application challenging ZEC for access to the electronic voters’ roll but had his request rejected because “it was too risky” and in the interest of data protection.
Meanwhile, the ruling party, Zanu PF sent text messages to registered voters during the period urging them to vote for President Emmerson Mnangagwa. This move further fuelled the allegation that Zanu PF had access to the voters’ roll which is why it was able to send the messages.
President Mnangagwa is running for re-election to a second term after coming to power following a military coup that dislodged Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s president in 2017.
The country is struggling with deep poverty, recurring power outages, and crippling unemployment, all of which have fuelled widespread resentment.
The President of Zimbabwe is elected using a two-round system. The Zimbabwean legislature is made up of 270 members of the National Assembly, 210 members elected in single-member constituencies, and 60 women elected by proportional representation in ten six-seat constituencies based on the country’s provinces.
Kenya: Parliament approves appointment of Kamau Thugge as central bank governor
Months after throwing open the position for the country’s top banker, Kenya’s parliament has approved the appointment of Kamau Thugge...
Ghana presents ‘working proposal’ for debt restructuring— IMF sources
West African country, Ghana has made a major move at resolving its debt crisis as the country has presented debt...
Rwandan President, Kagame sacks over 200 military personnel in major shake-up
Rwandan President, Paul Kagame has sacked over 200 soldiers including top military brass and commanders from the Rwanda Defence Force...
Flutterwave partners Token.io to provide seamless bank transfer to users in UK, EU
Pan-Africa’s payments technology company, Flutterwave has entered into a partnership with Europe’s account-to-account (A2A) payment infrastructure provider, Token.io to power...
Kenyan govt to convert ‘evil cult’ forest into a memorial site
The Kenyan government says it plans to convert the Shakahola Forest, where bodies of over 250 members of a Christian...
UN war crimes court declares Rwandan genocide suspect, Felicien Kabuga unfit to stand trial
An 88-year-old Rwandan genocide suspect, Felicien Kabuga has been declared unfit to stand trial by judges at a United Nations...
FIFA honours Osimhen after amazing season with Napoli
Following his record-breaking season with Napoli where he scored 26 goals to win the Serie A top scorer award, Nigerian...
Despite revenue crisis, World Bank projects faster growth for Kenya
The World Bank on Wednesday said progress in the agricultural sector would likely lead to Kenya’s economic growth at a...
Angola, Portugal sign 13-point pact spanning finance, law, others
Angola and Portugal have signed a Memorandum of Understanding including 13 different agreements that cut across financial, legal and other...
Congo DR, Angola advance talks over decades-long oil block dispute
Discussions are on to end a decades-long dispute between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola over an off-shore oil...
Strictly Personal1 day ago
In defence of fuel subsidy in Nigeria, By Chidi Chinedu
Tech1 day ago
Samsung Electronics launches e-waste program in Kenya
Metro1 day ago
No end in sight as Sudan’s warring factions refuse to back down
Metro1 day ago
Kenyan protesters clash with police during demonstration against tax hike