Activist, Former Lawmaker React To Buhari’s Letter On Magu, SGF

Activst, Former Lawmaker React To Buhari’s Letter On Magu, SGFA former lawmaker has joined other observers, including rights activists in reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to re-nominate Mr Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman and retain Mr Babachir Lawal as Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

Mr Babatunde Ogala, a former lawmaker in the Lagos state House Of Assembly, faults the interim report sent to the Presidency by the Senate as not sufficient enough to throw out the candidacy of both men.

He said that while he would not exonerate or condemn the SGF, the votes and proceeding and interim reports, did not suggest that he was given a fair hearing.

“The President has not said you were right or wrong. He has only pointed out their procedural errors.

“A legislature takes resolutions to the executive – You do not send interim reports”, he stressed, adding that the Senate had sent an incomplete report.

Questioning the actions of the Senate, he said: “Supposing the man had been sacked in your interim reports and your final reports now prove that he’s not even liable, what would have happened?”

Selective Application Of Constitution

Sharing a different view, rights activist, Richard Nwankwo, believes both the SGF and the EFCC boss, ought to have stepped down from office to allow for proper investigations into allegations leveled against them.

Nwakwo stressed that in the fight against corruption, there should be an elaborate, comprehensive and an intellectually driven campaign; which he believes is not what is playing out in reality.

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“Like I have repeatedly maintained, the selective application of the provisions of this constitution is the highest form of corruption.”

He then added that “even if there is no merit from the allegation from the Senate, I expect that the gladiators involved to have stepped aside for a thorough investigation to be done.”

They both gave their opinions while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

President Buhari had on Monday re-submitted the name of Mr Magu to the Senate for confirmation as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In that letter, the President explained that the nominee had satisfactorily clarified the allegation, which led to the earlier rejection by the Senate.

The President also rejected the recommendation of the Senate, asking for the removal of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, over allegation of corruption.

Different Circumstances

Meanwhile, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), has highlighted what it called differences in the circumstances surrounding both situations involving Magu and Lawal.

In a statement made in reaction to President Buhari’s letter, the spokesman for CACOL, Mr Wale Salami, explained that “there is the imperative need to separate Magu’s case and that of Babachir”.

N5,000 Social Security Motion Is Long Overdue – PDP Member

Social securityA PDP member, Deji Adeyanju, says the motion demanding the commencement of the payment of the N5,000 social security monthly was long overdue.

Adeyanju, who was on Sunrise Daily, shared a different opinion contrary to the views shared by an APC member, Mr Babatunde Ogala, who appeared earlier on the programme.

Mr Ogala had branded the motion in the Senate demanding the commencement of the payment of 5,000 naira monthly stipend to unemployed Nigerians as mischief by the opposition, saying if the policy would become a reality, it has to be well planned.

Adeyanju, however, believes that there is no excuse for the Federal Government to delay implementation of the scheme as the APC government had enough time to plan since it made the promise to Nigerians.

“They won the election about seven months ago and they must have finished planning,” he said.

He also disagreed with Mr Ogala’s view that the country was not buoyant enough.

“I need to correct the impression that Mr Ogala created that ‘if these monies are paid where will the President get the money from?’

“The same place where the President got the bailout money from is where he will get this money from. The same place he got the Multi JTF funds from, the same place he got money he paid day before yesterday to the oil subsidy people is the same place he will get the money from.”

5,000 Naira Motion In Senate Is Mischievous – APC Member

Ogala- APCA legal Practitioner and member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Babatunde Ogala, has branded the motion in the Senate demanding the commencement of the payment of 5,000 naira monthly stipend to unemployed Nigerians as mischief.

Mr. Ogala, while speaking to Channels Television, defended the commitment of the APC to the fulfillment of its campaign promises but maintained that the motion was mischief by the opposition, saying if the policy would become a reality, it has to be well planned.

“This is a policy that if it is going to come to effect, has to be well planned, it may need legislation, it may need to be appropriated for”, he said.

“If for any reason the President or indeed anybody progresses with such a programme now, it will be extra budgetary,” he said, adding that the money cannot be paid, unless included in the budget, and that anything short of that is misconduct on the part of the President.

Mr Ogala added that the Buhari government had not come up with its own budget as it was less than six months old. Therefore a major decision like the social security which is not just a proposal but a law must be appropriated for.

He went further to highlight the financial situation in the country and the war on corruption which he said were factors that would determine the implementation of the policy.

Long Overdue

A PDP member, Deji Adeyanju, who was also on Sunrise Daily, however disagreed with Mr Ogala.

He said that the motion demanding the commencement of the payment of the N5,000 social security monthly was long overdue.

He believes that there is no excuse for the Federal Government to delay implementation of the scheme as the APC government had enough time to plan since it made the promise to Nigerians.

He also disagreed with Mr Ogala’s view that the country was not buoyant enough, asking the President to get the funds for the social security programme from “the same place where the President got the bailout money from”.

He added, “The same place he got the Multi JTF funds from, the same place he got money he paid day before yesterday to the oil subsidy people is the same place he will get the money from.”

The APC through its Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, on Friday, assured Nigerians that it would not renege on its campaign promise to pay 5,000 naira each monthly to 25 million most vulnerable Nigerians.

The party also said that the non-implementation of the payment policy so far is due to the fact that it was not included in the 2015 budget, which was prepared by the PDP-led Jonathan Administration, and also because of the need to first block all financial leakages.

Who Is Afraid Of The Election? APC Member Asks

ElectionA member of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Babatunde Ogala, believes that there should have been no debate about whether the February elections should be postponed.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, he said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is “the body that is constitutionally empowered to organise elections and fix dates for such.”

Therefore, the decision regarding the feasibility of the elections holding as scheduled lies with the commission.

It has been reported that there was no common resolution at the Council of State meeting held in Abuja on Thursday as to whether the February elections would go ahead or not.

Rather, INEC was reportedly given a directive to consult with its National Electoral Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners and political parties on the situation across the country and then announce to Nigerians their final decision.

Mr Babatunde Ogala, however believes that there is a presumption that INEC must have done its consultation as the commission had already come out to say they were ready for the elections.

He also said that the data available on the progress of the electoral body in its distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards showed that there had been a notable improvement in the number of Nigerians who have collected their PVCs.

The Legal Practitioner, who had in an earlier edition of the programme berated INEC for the low distribution rate of the PVCs said that a lot has changed since his last comment as the electoral body had significantly improved.

He pointed out the distribution rate of the PVC in the troubled North-East region of Nigeria as a valid proof that INEC has indeed shown readiness for the polls.

Ogala asked, “Who is afraid of the election?”

He also berated the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, for suggesting the election postponement during a forum in the United Kingdom.

“As a National Security Adviser, if he had any issue for INEC, I do believe he should direct it to INEC and not Chatham House in London,” he said.

Mr Ogala also discussed other issues of concern across Nigeria as the elections get closer.

Ogala Seeks Arrest Of Persons Issuing Post-election Violence Threats

Babatunde_OgalaA lawyer and a former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Babatunde Ogala, has asked the Nigerian government to arrest persons issuing post-election violence threats and prosecute them.

Mr Ogala made the call on Tuesday while giving his opinion on the preparedness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the 2015 general elections.

He said that persons issuing such threats should not be allowed to “walk the streets free”.

“Individuals who have issued threats of post-election violence should be arrested and made to face the law for such comments.

“If anybody says; I will instigate violence, no matter the party he belongs to, arrest such persons and prosecute them,” he said.

The lawyer further stressed the need for a conscious effort to be made by all stakeholders in the election to change the orientation of the populace. “A re-orientation of the populace will help guard against post-election violence. If INEC will do what they have to do right, there will not be violence,” he said.

Mr Ogala, however, pointed out that the electoral body had not shown signs that it was ready for the elections.

“From what I have seen and from what INEC has said, it does not seem to be ready for the elections. Not up to 20 per cent of the electorates have the PVC needed for the voting.

“We can only measure them by the steps that ought to have been taken thus far before the election.

“Over 70 per cent of people in Lagos do not have the permanent Voters Card (PVC) and there is complain all over in Lagos,” the former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly said.

He questioned why the INEC had failed to put things in place within the last three years that it had to prepare for the 2015 general elections.

Mr Ogala further dismissed claims that the INEC may have been sabotaged, insisting that a structure should have been put in place to ensure that the electoral body would not be sabotaged.

“Mobilising people for a general elections is something that INEC should have embarked on.

“INEC should be the one educating the people through the media channels, but the parties and individuals have taken up that role.

“The humongous budgets of INEC should be enough to empower them to be effective in handling electoral exercises,” he pointed out.

He suggested that the electorates should be allowed to use the old voters card to vote in next years election since it would not be possible for most electorates to get their PVC.

“There is not much difference between the permanent cards and the old laminated card.

“The possibility of using card readers is not there because if they bring card readers for the elections, they will need to make provision for power.

“Please, let us use our old cards from 2011. Before INEC will insist on using the PVC for voting, they must be ready. INEC is not ready,” he emphasised.

According to him, “if preparations are on course as INEC claims, where are the materials that are needed for the election”.

Fayemi Can Still Make Executive Decisions – Ogala

Babatunde OgalaA former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Babatunde Ogala, on Wednesday, stated that the plan of the outgoing governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, to create more local governments before handing over to governor-elect, Ayo Fayose is not out of place.

“The fact that elections have been held does not mean governance has stopped,” he said, insisting that “Fayemi remains the governor until sometime in October and that he can still take executive actions, even a day before his tenure expires”.

He maintained that Fayemi’s plan was not wrong “if the creation or proposed creation of local government is going through due process of the law”.

He expressed these views while on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

While commenting on the outcome of the Ekiti elections, Ogala expressed surprise, because “one wasn’t expecting the election to go the way it went,” especially when the reported performance of the incumbent governor was considered.

He noted that the circumstance in which the governor-elect had left office when he was governor made it “most unlikely” that he would win.

Mr Ogala who said he could not tell if the APC had prepared well enough and not underrated their strongest opponent, noted that “in warfare, you never underrate any opponent”.

He further emphasised that the most important thing to note would be that “Ekiti has spoken”, saying “it is a lesson for all of us”.

He described Fayemi’s concession of defeat and willingness to work with Fayose, as the “act of statesmanship” which is a lesson for the country in the electoral process.

However, Ogala said that there was no doubt that Fayemi had his misgivings about the elections but had shown that “the State should be more important than our personal, individual interests”.

He further commended Fayose’s reaction to the situation, praising his decision to work with all the governorship candidates in the best interest of the people.

On Fayemi’s bid to create more local governments before leaving office, Ogala said he doubts that Fayose would “frown at any process that brings development to the State”.

 

Legislature In Nigeria Needs More Development – Lawyer

A lawyer, Babatunde Ogala has thrown more light on what he considers the expected duties of the legislative arm of government.

He described it as an arm that appropriates, confirms and represents the power of the boss, including appointments.

Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, he stated that when a bill is passed to the House by the executive, “it is only the legislature that can say spend as much, increase or decrease.”

Mr. Ogala however complained that the legislature in Nigeria has not been allowed to develop due to the ignorance of the executive and the legislature itself.

In his efforts to call the parties to renewed action, he also mentioned that corruption has invaded the system, using the controversies surrounding the aviation minister’s management of funds as an example. Mr. Ogala alleged that “the Senate has shied away from the matter”.

Mr. Ogala however added that although the arm is extremely slow, it is gradually getting there. According to him, “You cannot harvest what you don’t have; you can only take from those who make themselves available.”

Ribadu’s report is ‘substantially ok’ – El-Rufai

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nasir El-Rufai on Thursday said the report on the operations on the Nigeria oil and gas sector presented by the Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force, Nuhu Ribadu is substantially satisfactory.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the former minister said, though the report may have some shortcomings, the Federal government should not ‘throw the baby with the bath water.’

Mr El-Rufai said: “That somebody submitted a report and said ‘I have figures but you need to crosscheck them’ does not make the report incomplete or useless.”

He said the Federal Government should consider all the recommendations of the report and identify those that can be implemented.

“They should not question the integrity of the whole report just because a couple of members, clearly with interest, have spoken out against the report. The report is substantially ok. More than 20 members of the committee have not come out to disown the report. The other three have not written a minority report.

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“Steve Oronsaye and Nuhu Ribadu are both friends of mine, but here I must say Steve is wrong to say that because of his fidelity to process as an accountant the whole report should be thrown out. I don’t agree with that,” he said.

The former minister insisted that there is no discrepancy between the two versions of the Ribadu report in circulation and that if the government implements the recommendations in the reports, the Nigeria oil and gas sector will be better managed.

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Ribadu lied; Oronsaye attended committee meetings – Ogunkunle

A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accountants, Ademola Ogunkunle on Thursday said, contrary to the allegations of the Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task force, Nuhu Ribadu that Steve Oronsaye never attended the panel’s meetings; that the former head of civil service attended four of eight meetings.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ogunkunle said he was privy to the minutes of the 26-man committee and that Mr Oronsaye’s name appeared on the attendance register of four of the panel’s meeting.

There was a faceoff between Mr Ribadu and Oronsaye during the presentation of the committee’s report to President Goodluck Jonathan with the former accusing the latter of not participating in the panel’s work.

Mr Oronsaye also disclaimed the report presented by Mr Ribadu insisting that the figures in the report were not verified.

Former lawmaker says Oronsaye not fit for public office

A former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Babatunde Ogala, who was also a discussant on Sunrise Daily said what Mr Oronsaye did on the day his committee presented its report to President Goodluck Jonathan was ‘a show of shame.’

He said the former Head of Service ‘has shown himself to be a man that is even not fit to hold any office in this country.”

The former lawmaker said it was irresponsible for Mr Oronsaye to have verbally disclaimed a report presented by a committee he was a part of, without presenting a minority report to the President.

“If you did not agree with the majority report, have yours ready,” he said.

NERC Official speaks on crazy billing by PHCN

Uche Okoro, the Special Assistant, Research and Strategy to the Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sam Amadi on Tuesday blamed the reported incidences of overestimated billing by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to corruption in the electricity distribution companies.

Mr Okoro, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, assured Nigerians that once the distribution companies are fully concessioned, the cases of estimated billing will be a thing of the past.

He also spoke about the plan of the NERC to ensure that all electricity consumer get the prepaid meter before the 18 month deadline set by the commission.

Watch the video below for the complete discussion.

Parks and Garden law: apply persuasion not punishment, lawyer tells Lagos govt

The Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, Onyekachi Ubani on Monday urged the Lagos State government to use persuasion in enforcing the new Parks and Gardens law which was recently established in the state.

The new law makes it mandatory for landlords of landscapes to beautify the perimeter areas of their properties. Violation of this law, according to the commissioner, shall warrant the penalty of N250, 000 or any amount the state shall incur in doing same on behalf of the property owner.

Mr, Ubani, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said while it is important to maintain a decent and clean environment, the government should also consider the living standard of residents of Lagos while enforcing the law.

Watch the video below for the complete interview with Mr Ubani.