Why We Voted For E-Transmission Of Results With Conditions – Senate President

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has advanced reasons to justify the position taken by the Senate on the electronic transmission of election results.

The Senate on Thursday, while considering the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill, voted that “The Commission(INEC) may consider the electronic transmission of results, provided the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the National Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.”

Lawan explained that the Upper Chamber voted the way it did in defense of about half of the Nigerian voters whose votes may not be counted with immediate deployment or application of electronic transmission of election results.

The Senate President spoke to journalists at the weekend while on a constituency visit to his Yobe North Senatorial District.

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Asked to comment on the passage of the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill, Lawan said: “I’m happy that we have been able to pass the amendment even though some people are complaining of what we have passed in the Senate and probably what the House of Representatives has also passed.

“When the majority of Senators voted against immediate application or deployment of electronic transmission of results from the polling units, to the ward, to the local government, states and federal, they didn’t say they do not believe in electronic transmission (of election results).

“All of us in the Senate, 109 of us, believe that at one point, our electoral process must deploy electronic transmission so that it eases and enhances the electoral process and give it more credibility and integrity.

“But you see, when you have not reached that stage where you could deploy the electronic transmission from every part of the country, then you have to be very careful. And no matter what anybody may say, you cannot have about 50 percent of Nigerian voters not participating or not getting their votes counted in elections and say it doesn’t matter, that we have to start the electronic transmission.

“We know the evils of not transmitting results electronically but compare the evils of electronically transmitting just half of the electoral votes from Nigerians and say you have elected a President with 50 percent only.

“And others have voted but their results or their votes could not be electronically transmitted. This is disenfranchising Nigerians and we are not going to support this kind of thing because essentially, we are supposed to be fair to every part of Nigeria and when we voted, every part of Nigeria voted for and against(the amendment).

“What I mean here is that you have Senators from the northern part of Nigeria who voted for electronic transmission. Maybe that is their belief or their environment is ready for electronic transmission. And you have Senators from the southern part of Nigeria who voted against the immediate deployment of electronic transmission but they support that the electronic transmission of results should be allowed after certain conditions are met and the conditions are simple: The National Communication Commission(NCC) had provided the technical information that only NCC could give – that only about 50 percent of the Nigerian environment, the polling units, in the country could possibly have their results electronically transmitted.

“So what happens to the other 50 percent. So we believe that all of us in the Senate were aiming at the same target but chose to go through different routes and that is why in my concluded remarks in the Senate after the debate and voting, I said there was no Victor, no Vanquish because we all meant well.

“And for those Nigerians who still feel that the electronic transmission should have just been allowed to take effect, I said well, this is how democracy works. Democracy is to allow those minority views to be expressed and democracy provides that the majority views will always prevail.”

The Senate President faulted some media reports that insinuated that only the APC Senators voted against the immediate application of the electronic transmission of results.

He said the votes cast on either side of the subject matter cut across party lines and regional divides.

“In this respect, it was not just APC. I have seen it reported in the media that only APC Senators voted against the immediate deployment of electronic transmission.

“There are PDP Senators who voted against that but it appears that some people want to target APC Senators. There were PDP Senators who voted against the immediate deployment. I’m using the word ‘immediate’ with an emphasis.

“Nobody said don’t use electronic transmission at all. You use it when we reach there and only NCC can give you information. That is the main reason why, in the Senate version, clause 52(3), there is that provision to contact the NCC because INEC will not know until they go to NCC.

“So NCC will be the only institution to give that information because they are competent and it’s within their jurisdiction. And we say the National Assembly should approve of it.

“It is not when they want to do transmission that they will have to go to National Assembly that we want to do the transmission. No. That once NCC has told INEC is now ready. INEC should come to the National Assembly with the NCC and say we are now ready.

“There is no way any National Assembly, not even this Ninth National Assembly will deny INEC the use of electronic transmission as part of our electoral process when we are ready for it,” Lawan said.

The Senate President said it was wrong to conclude that Senators who voted for electronic transmission with conditions did not like the results transmitted electronically.

“I want to take this opportunity to debunk that insinuation or outright castigation of Senators that voted against the immediate deployment of electronic transmission that they don’t like the electronic transmission. It is not true.

“Even though I didn’t vote. But I believe that what my colleagues did is binding on all of us in the Senate. 28 against 52…l believe that what we have done requires that the Senate and the House will each constitute a conference committee. What we call harmonisation for the two sides. When we harmonise, then we will send it to Mr President,” Lawan said.

Why Nigeria Must Continue To Borrow Responsibly – Senate President

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has explained why it is important for the Nigerian government to continue to borrow responsibly to fund critical projects in the country.

He believes it is not feasible for the government to tax the people further in the face of the present economic situation and the nation’s infrastructure must be developed.

The Senate President made the remarks on Thursday while briefing State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“You cannot, in my view and judgement, tax Nigerians further for you to raise the money for infrastructural development; other countries do that, but we have serious situation across the country.

So, you cannot put taxes on the people. The only option left is for use to borrow responsibly, utilise prudently and economically, and ensure that the projects are self-sustaining; that they can pay back the loans,” he said.

Senator Lawan added, “Our options are really very limited as a country. First, we do not have the necessary revenue; Nigeria is poor, we should not deceive ourselves. Nigeria is not rich given the circumstances we live in, given the challenges we have.

“Our resources are so low, our revenues are so low; therefore, the option of not doing anything just to sit (because we have no money, we should not go for infrastructure development) is not an option worthy of consideration. You cannot keep the economy stagnant.”

 

Investors Not Willing

He gave the assurance that the National Assembly would give legislative approval to the Executive loan request to fund the 2021 Appropriation Act before it embarked on a recess in July.

The lawmaker reiterated that the 2021 Supplementary Bill would also go through final consideration before the recess to fast-track the government’s procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and military hardware to tackle insecurity.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, briefs reporters after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on June 24, 2021.

 

While stressing the need to borrow funds, he stated that the Legislature would not just support or approve loans for the executive.

The Senate President noted that this would be done only after investigating the implementation of such loans through oversight functions to ensure that they were directly deployed for intended projects.

According to him, Nigeria has no other choice than to borrow money and the option of private-public partnerships and Internally Generation Revenue (IGR) was not worthy of consideration.

Senator Lawan said, “What I want to assure Nigerians here is that we are not going to be frivolously supporting or approving loans for the Executive arm of government; whenever we have to approve any loan, we will insist on the details of the funding to look at the conditions that are attached to the loans and they must be favourable conditions before we approve.”

“The other option is probably private partnership – you need to create the environment to attract investors to come into your country. Because of the security challenges we face today, not many investors would like to come to Nigeria.

“In fact, even those inside Nigeria may not like to invest properly in the sector of infrastructure development,” he said.

NASS Will Never Pass Any Law To Hinder Press Freedom – Lawan

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila speak to a journalist after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja. PHOTO: State House

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has felicitated with Nigerian journalists on the occasion of the 2021 World Press Freedom Day, saying the National Assembly under his watch will not suppress press freedom.

Lawan in a statement issued on Sunday by his spokesman, Ola Awoniyi, May 3 is set aside every year to remind governments around the world of their obligation to facilitate and respect press freedom, and also to remind journalists of the need to respect the ethics of their profession.

“The Ninth Senate and the National Assembly, in general, will never pass any law that inhibits the freedom of the press but rather work with the media to further enhances the practice of the profession,” he said.

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“I also celebrate the Nigerian journalists for the invaluable contributions and sacrifices that they have made throughout our national history to nation-building and entrenchment of democracy.

“I pay tribute to the patriots who have lost their lives in the line of duty and pray that their death will not be in vain.”

“It is in this light that I call on the practitioners to purge their noble profession of the bad eggs whose nefarious activities are denting the credibility and reputation of the mainstream practitioners.

“The leadership organs of the profession also need to adopt practical measures to check the activities of the purveyors of fake news.

“My belief is that the menace of fake news is capable of eroding the integrity and credibility of the media in general, and this should not be allowed to happen,” Lawan said.

The Senate President wishes the media a happy celebration.

Signed:

Ola Awoniyi

Special Adviser(Media) to President of the Senate

Sunday, 2nd May 2021

‘We Are Not Rubber Stamp Senate’, Ahmed Lawal Defends Cooperation With Executive

 

 

Senate President Ahmad Lawan says the current legislative arm of government is not a rubber stamp National Assembly.

Critics of the current legislature have said that they seem to only be doing the will of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congres (APC), rather than working for the Nigerian people.

However, the Senate President who was Special Guest at the commissioning of New Evans Ewerem Way in Imo State noted that the two arms of government are working in tandem to see that the dividends of democracy are duly provided for the Nigerian people.

“We in the National Assembly have been working with the veto arm of the government, so far, so good. We do so consciously, we do so purposefully, we do so patriotically because we believe that both arms of government are voted in to serve the people.

“And where we will have to disagree with the veto arm of government, we’ll do so. We have done so before and if it becomes necessary to do so, we will do it again,” he said.

The lawmaker added, “But where we have no cause to differ, where we have no cause to say ‘No!’ we will not differ and we will not say no because that is what will serve the people of this country.

“We don’t care if the opposition will say ‘this rubber stamp assembly,’ you had an assembly that never saw anything good in working together, what did the people get, nothing.

“As a person, as the chairman of the National Assembly, as the president of the Senate, I don’t care if you say what we do is rubber stamp but you know inside you, inside your heart, that we are not Rubber stamp; we are there to make sure that the people of this country get the best deal from the government that they vote in.”

 

Following the recent spate of insecurity in the country, Senate President Ahmed Lawan has advocated for increase funding for security agencies in the country to procure adequate technologies and manpower needed to combat crime in the country in line with global best practice.

The Senate President made this statement in Owerri the Imo state capital when inaugurating some road projects embarked upon by the Uzodimma led administration in the state.

While condemning the recent attack on Police stations in Imo state and the illegal release of inmates at the Owerri Correctional Centre, Mr Lawan says the security agencies in the country need more resources to fight the spate of crime in the country and as the chairman of the Legislative arm in the country, they will continue to make appropriate laws that will increase funding for security agencies.

Senate Confirms Nababa’s Appointment As CG Nigerian Correctional Service

Senate President Ahmed Lawan

 

The Senate has confirmed the appointment of Haliru Nababa as the Controller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Service.

This was announced in a Tweet by the Nigeria Senate. “The Nomination of Haliru Nababa is CONFIRMED as Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Service,” the tweet read.

 

Nababa was confirmed following the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Interior which screened him under the Chairmanship of Senator Kashim Shettima.

In his presentation, Senator Kashim Shettima said the Committee found the nominee suitable for the position, and no petition was received against him.

“The Nominee possesses the educational qualification for the position; the nominee is not affiliated to any political party, the nominee is within the age bracket for the recommendation,” Senator Shettima told the House.

This motion was seconded by Senator Abba Moro.

The President’s letter seeking Nababa’s confirmation was also read at plenary then by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.

Grab The Opportunity To Be At Centre Of Nigeria’s Politics, Ahmad Lawan Tells Igbos

 

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has wooed people from the south-eastern part of the country to join the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He made the appeal on Sunday during an interdenominational service to mark the first year anniversary of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, asking Igbos to grab the opportunity to be at the center of Nigeria’s politics.

“I will take this opportunity to appeal to our people in the southeast, grab the opportunity to be at the center of Nigerian politics,” the Senate President said.

“The APC administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is so liberal and forthcoming to support every part of Nigeria to make sure that Nigeria is evenly developed.

“What we are witnessing here in Imo will be replicated in Ebonyi. We hope, by the grace of God, Anambra is coming on board. We are expecting Abia to be on board and Gburugburu to bring Enugu on board.”

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Senate President, speaks on March 14, 2021 during an interdenominational service to mark the first year anniversary of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma.

 

According to Senate Lawan, Nigeria should be a united country where progressives would provide leadership for the nation’s greatness.

While noting that the country faces myriads of challenges, notably security issues, the Senate President said there is no country that develops without confronting some problems.

What matters, he explained, is the willingness of the Federal Government to tackle the issues on the ground for the betterment of the citizens.

Lawan also called on all Nigerians irrespective of political, ethnic, or religious differences to support the government in overcoming the nation’s challenges.

Speaking further, the Senate President recalled that when Governor Hope Uzodinma, was a Senator representing Imo North in the National Assembly, he was not found wanting in any assigned task.

“We served in so many parliamentary organizations within and outside the country and I have never found him wanting.

“So when he was given the judgement to be the governor of Imo State, I just thought Imo will be taken to the next level by the grace of God.

“Today we are celebrating one year of his governorship in Imo, the National Assembly is here, the presences of the Vice President who ably represents Mr President and all the governors here is a very clear testimony of his relationship with the centre of Nigeria,” Senator Lawan added.

Insecurity: We Expect Military To Take The Fight To Insurgents, Bandits – Lawan

Electoral Violence: Military Dismisses Fear Of Reprisals Over Killing Of Personnel
A file photo showing the boots of military personnel.

 

“We expect our Armed Forces to take the fight to the insurgents and bandits,” the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said.

He made the remark on Tuesday shortly after lawmakers in the Senate confirmed the service chiefs during plenary in the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

The Senate had confirmed Major General Lucky Irabor as Chief of Defence Staff, and Major General Ibrahim Attahiru as Chief of Army Staff.

Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo and Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao were also confirmed as the Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Air Staff respectively.

Presiding over the plenary, the Senate President commended the new appointees, saying there were so many calls for the replacement of the former service chiefs and the President had done that.

He thanked the former service chiefs for doing their best and advised their successors that Nigerians expected so much from them.

Senator Lawan called for inter-agency and cooperation among the security agencies and asked the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Air Force to take the lead in the fight against crime.

“We are in a very serious situation. The security situation must be improved, and the buck is now going to stop on their table as far as operations are concerned.

“We in the Senate will continue to support our Armed Forces in whatever way is possible. With this, I wish them all the success and we promise them and indeed Nigerians that we will support them in whatever way that its possible,” he said.

 

Up To The Task?

The confirmation of the service chief’s appointments followed the report of the Senate committee presented to the lawmakers by Senator Aliyu Wamakko.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, presides over a plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on March 2, 2021.

 

Senator Barau Jibrin, in his contribution, believes going by the resumes of the service chiefs, they were highly capable and up to the task they were nominated for.

On his part, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege commended Senator Wamakko and his committee for a very thorough and terrific job.

He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari took his time to seek out the very best in the Armed Forces.

“The intellect and exploit of these nominees are very well documented in this report. The nominee for Chief of Defence Staff is a friend I have known for so many years and I can personally attest and corroborate Wammako’s confirmation as a competent and patriotic person.

“Major General Ibrahim Attahiru is also someone I have known for a very long time. I have no doubt that President Muhammadu Buhari has selected the very best men to pilot the military affairs. I wholeheartedly support these nominations,” the lawmaker told his colleagues.

WTO: Okonjo-Iweala Has Brought Honour To Nigeria, Africa – Lawan

In this file photo taken on September 19, 2016 former Finance Minster of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala looks on during the Opening Plenary Session: "Partnering for Global Prosperity," at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Bryan R. Smith / AFP
File photo of former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Credit: Bryan R. Smith / AFP

 

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has congratulated former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her emergence as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, saying she has brought more honour to Nigeria and Africa.

Lawan in a statement issued on Monday by his spokesman, Ola Awoniyi, also congratulated “Nigeria on the latest feat of its great daughter on the international stage.”

“I heartily rejoice with Dr Okonjo-Iweala on this well-deserved victory. With her latest feat, the former Nigerian Minister of Finance and Managing Director of the World Bank has again brought honour to Nigeria, Africa and women everywhere,” Lawan was quoted as saying.

The Senate President applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for standing behind her candidacy in getting the WTO top job.

He also acknowledged Okonjo-Iweala’s sterling credentials and her ultimate triumph in the prolonged contest for the very important position.

Lawan urged the new Director-General to “deploy her famed intellect, experience, energy and integrity in leading the WTO to promote global prosperity through fair trade.”

According to the Senate President, her task has been made even more onerous by the havoc that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked on economies across the world.

He also prayed that the Almighty God would imbue her with good health and wisdom to succeed in the task.

Senate Resumes From Recess, Holds First Plenary In 2021

A file photo of lawmakers in the Senate.

 

The Senate has resumed and held a plenary session for the first time in 2021.

Address lawmakers on Tuesday, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan read the letter from President Muhamadu Buhari seeking the confirmation of the service chiefs.

He also read the letter from President Buhari seeking the confirmation of the immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadorial nominees.

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Thereafter, the Senate adjourned plenary to honour a member of the House of Representatives, Ossy Prestige who died recently.

NASS Meets With NNPC Over Petroleum Industry Bill

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on September 28, 2020 meet with NNPC officials over the Petroleum Industry Bill in Abuja.

 

The National Assembly is currently meeting with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the Petroleum Industry Bill.

Channels Television learned that the meeting is to discuss the essence and focus of the PIB sent to the National Assembly.

Lawan said President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter containing the PIB will be read on the floor of both chambers when the National Assembly resumes plenary session tomorrow.

According to him, the National Assembly wants to see an oil industry that will be regulated, beneficial to Nigerians and attract investment.

The Senate President also gave the assurance that the National Assembly will pass the PIB as soon as possible.

On his part, Gbajabiamila reiterated the lawmakers’ commitment in the passage of the bill, noting that they will not sacrifice thoroughness at the alter of speed.

He also said the House has assembled a team of legislators who are knowledgeable about the industry to work on the PIB.

In attendance at the meeting is the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and the NNPC boss, Mele Kyari

Senate President Condoles With Senator Wamakko Over Daughter’s Death

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has commiserated with Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko over the death of his daughter, Sadiya.

In a statement signed on Saturday by the Special Adviser (Media) to the President of the Senate, Ola Awoniyi, Lawan described the death of Sadiya at a tender age as tragic and painful.

He, however, urged Senator Wamakko to take solace in the fact that Allah gives and takes as He wills.

“I share in your grief and pray that Allah will give you the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

“I also commiserate with the government and people of Sokoto state who are mourning with you over the unfortunate incident and pray that Allah will console them,” Lawan said.

Sadiya Aliyu Wamakko died on Thursday at the Usmanu Danfodio Teaching Hospital from complications arising from childbirth.

Senate President Dismisses 2023 Presidential Ambition

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan,

 

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has dismissed nursing a 2023 presidential ambition at the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.

In a statement issued on Saturday by his spokesman, Ola Awoniyi, the Senate President described as puerile some media reports of him seeking to run for Nigeria’s presidency in three years’ time.

According to him, the reports reflects the “lazy fantasy of its unimaginative authors as a fact.”

Lawan’s reaction comes two days after he and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, met behind closed doors with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting is said to have centered on the recent controversy that arose between the National Assembly and the Minister of State, Labour, and Employment, Festus Keyamo, over the proposed 774,000 jobs.

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SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

PRESS STATEMENT

The attention of the office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to a rather puerile media report that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, is making plans to run for president in 2023. The report was first published by the Daily Independent newspaper of Friday, 17th July 2020 and reproduced later by the Sahara Reporters.

It is easy to see that the report emanated from the sort of practice that drags the noble profession of journalism to the gutters as it only dresses up the lazy fantasy of its unimaginative authors as a fact.

The report apparently has its source in beer parlour gossips and should be treated with the contempt which it and those who concocted it deserves.

It is true that the Senate President was involved in the consultations that President Muhammadu Buhari held prior to the last emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC).

But there was nothing extra-ordinary in his involvement in such consultations, given his status as holder of one of the highest political offices in Nigeria and on the platform of the APC. Such is required of any concerned member of the party. It is therefore sheer mischief for anyone to read ulterior motives to the Senate President joining hands with the President and other leaders in resolving misunderstanding in their own party.

We will like to stress that the Senate President’s preoccupation is with advancing the agenda of the Ninth National Assembly to focus governance on the pursuit of the best interests of the Nigerian people and to support President Buhari in delivering his promises to Nigerians.

The Senate President does not suffer such needless distractions as imputed by the false report under reference. He believes that it is premature for anybody to be talking now about 2023 when all hands should be on deck against the myriad of challenges that faces our nation in this period.

We advise the idle pseudo-journalists to look for other engagements and stop bastardising this noble profession.

 

Signed:

Ola Awoniyi

Special Adviser(Media) to President of the Senate

Saturday, 18th July, 2020