2023: Gbajabiamila Asks Students To Participate Fully, Vote Candidates Based On Records

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has asked Nigerian students to fully participate in the 2023 elections by voting for candidates based on their records.

The Speaker said the Nigerian youths should not pass up the opportunity of electing the next political leaders on their terms, which could only be achieved with their full participation in the electoral process.

Gbajabiamila spoke on Wednesday in Abuja while welcoming executive members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), led by their President, Usman Barambu, to his office at the National Assembly.

They were on a “thank you” visit to the Speaker over the resolution of the 8-month industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).


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While appreciating the visit, the Speaker highlighted the importance of the Nigerian youth in national development, saying, “You are a very important segment of Nigeria for national development. The role of youth in society cannot be overemphasised because you play a very critical role in what happens in this country now and in the future.

“It is important you understand that we recognise the importance of your place in national development.”

Gbajabiamila said students could not afford to be detached from the process of electing the next President as the future of the country was at stake.

He said: “Well, for me, you (students) have a lot to do between now and election day. In the next three, four months, you have a lot to do. What I mean is that you have to now begin to look at things differently, be able to look at things the way they are done in other climes, where people will look at things when it comes to politics and elections.

“What do I mean by that? We have so many candidates, not three, not four. People talk about having three frontrunners, perhaps, but as far as I’m concerned, we have 18 candidates running for the President of this country, and I don’t think you should overlook any one of them. You should not.

“What I want you to do, as is done in advanced democracies, is to look objectively, and this is what is done in other countries, people run on their records.”

The Speaker went on: “So, those are the issues that I think you need to consider. If a candidate does not have a record to run on and is talking about something else, it means that he doesn’t have a record to run on.

“The good thing is that most of the candidates, at least the frontrunners, have records. I’m not pitching for anybody here but look at their records. If you feel he deserves to be the President of Nigeria, please, do not hesitate. Vote for that person based on his record.

“Two of them have been governors for eight years, that’s the only record they have. One has been the Vice-President for eight years. So there are records, vote for records. Every candidate must run on his record.

“And I believe the way you have been equipped mentally, I have interacted with so many of you, I believe you’re savvy enough to be able to, in spite of all the noise and the smokescreen, zero in on the right person for Nigeria.

“Also pray, that’s very important. As you consider the candidates, also pray that God will guide you to make the right choice.

“I believe that it’s going to be a watershed moment in Nigeria and I believe that is exactly what is going to happen. That is the only charge I have for you today because that’s the most important thing before us in Nigeria right now.”

Earlier, the NANS President, Barambu said the visit was to show the appreciation of the Nigerian students for the efforts the Speaker put into the resolution of the ASUU crisis.

He also put before the Speaker the request of the students regarding the possibility of the authorities waiving a year of the school calendar in order to usher in a proper academic work, having lost almost three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ASUU strike.

The students also requested the intervention of the Speaker on the possibility of waiving the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) service year age for graduates who might have passed the age limit as a result of the time lost due to the COVID-19 lockdown and the ASUU strike.

The students pleaded with the Speaker to help extend their appreciation to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom they said successfully intervened in the resolution of the leadership crisis within the student union body.

Buhari To Present 2023 Budget To National Assembly Today

 

President Muhammadu Buhari today will lay before the two chambers of the National Assembly, the proposed N19.76 trillion budget for the 2023 financial year.

The N19.76 trillion budget which would be the last presented by Buhari before his tenure elapses, is about a 15.37 per cent increase from the amount budgeted in 2022.

Earlier, the president had sent in a letter to the National Assembly regarding the presentation, a correspondence which was read during plenary on Tuesday, by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan and Speaker of the House Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.

“This is to inform the House that I will on 10:00 am on Friday, 7th October 2022, formally present the 2023 appropriation bill to a joint session of the National Assembly.

“Please accept, Mr. Speaker, the assurances of my highest regards. I look forward to addressing the joint session,” the letter partly read.


READ ALSO: Tinubu Returns To Nigeria After 12 Days In UK


Shortly after reading the letter, the Senate President told his colleagues that Buhari will address the joint session of parliamentarians, dousing fears that the presentation might not have been possible, seeing that there are ongoing renovations within the National Assembly complex and many worried that there won’t be room enough to accommodate all the legislators and other guests who will be present.

Meanwhile, the Senate on Wednesday approved the 23-25 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategic Paper(FSP) ahead of the presentation of the 2023 Budget proposals by the president on Friday.

The Senate gave the approval following the consideration of the report of its Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning on the 2023-25 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) And Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) which President Muhammadu Buhari recently proposed to the National Assembly.

The report was presented by the chairman of the Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan (APC – Lagos West).

After the debate on the report, the Senate approved, for 2023, the oil price benchmark of US$73 per barrel of crude oil and sustained, as contained in the MTEF/FSP documents, the exchange rate of N437.57 to one dollar.

The Senate also approved the sum of N3.6 trillion as subsidy on petroleum products for 2023.

Other parameters approved include; “projected new borrowings of N8.437 trillion, including foreign and domestic borrowings subject to the approval of the provisions of details of the borrowing plan by the National Assembly.

“A retained revenue of N9.352 trillion as a result of increase in the oil bench mark, fiscal deficit of N10.563 trillion, Statutory transfers, totalling N722.11 billion; debt service estimate of N6.31 trillion ; sinking fund at N247.7 billion; pensions, gratuities and Retirees benefits at N827.8 billion.

The Senate further recommended for comprehensive review of waiver policy to ensure that only companies engaged in manufacturing and production are granted such waivers.

It also granted relevant oversight committees of the National Assembly the liberty to remove recycled projects in their budget proposals during the Committees’ budget defence.

End To ASUU Strike Near, Says Gbajabiamila

A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, says the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which has kept students at home for about seven months, is very close to its end. 

Gbajabiamila disclosed this after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari, as part of efforts to resolve the ongoing strike by ASUU.

The speaker who led a delegation of principal officers from the House to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa immediately after Tuesday’s plenary, told newsmen that certain decision which would bring the strike to an end have been made.


READ ALSO: Buhari Presides Over FEC Meeting Ahead Of 2023 Budget Presentation


“After a series of engagements with ASUU and with people on the executive side, we’ve been able to come to some kind of decisions and recommendations to be made to Mr. President for his approval.

“As you know, what is on the front burner today, even beyond the politics, is that our universities, our lecturers, and our children are out of school.

“The House of Representatives decided to step in at that point four weeks ago and we’ve had a series of meetings that lasted hours and we’ve been able to get both sides to shift ground to an extent and that’s what we came to discuss with Mr. President about those recommendations.”

The Speaker further asserted that he is hopeful that the crisis might soon be resolved as the delegation had a robust engagement with the President.

Speaker Gbajabiamila spoke more, “Mr. President, as usual, had a very good listening ear, he took the report of the House, accepted it. We discussed it at length, the details of the report and he wanted to go through them himself.

“We have another meeting on Thursday between our good selves and Mr. President for his final decision. We had a good engagement, with a very positive response.

“He asked us a couple of questions, in some grey areas which we clarified, and he accepted the reports and he wanted a couple of days to go through it.

“We are working and we are hopeful that this (strike) will soon be a thing of the past. I know once this is agreed upon, the strike will be called off,” he buttressed.

Again, Reps Reintroduce Controversial Water Resources Bill

A file photo of the House of Reps.

 

The House of Representatives on Wednesday reintroduced the controversial Water Resources Bill.

The sponsor, Honourable Sada Soli, said wide consultations have been made for a better version of the bill. He assured that if at any point, indications suggest that it will negatively affect any section of the country, he will voluntarily withdraw the bill.

The Water Resources Bill was first introduced in the 8th Assembly but was rejected by the lawmakers. It was then reintroduced in the 9th Assembly but received backlash from a broad section of Nigerians and legislators who feared that it could endanger the unity of the country.

READ ALSO: Reps To Investigate Subsidy Regime From 2017 To 2021

The bill seeks to bring all water resources (surface and underground) and the banks of the water sources under the control of the Federal Government.

It has been read for the first time and would be debated when it is scheduled for the second reading.

Reps To Investigate Subsidy Regime From 2017 To 2021

A file photo combination of members of the House of Reps during a plenary and a fuel nozzle.

 

The House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the petroleum products subsidy regime from 2017 to 2021.

The resolution followed a motion by Honourable Sergius Ogun who stated that component costs in the petroleum products subsidy value chain claimed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is highly over-bloated while the transfer pump price per litre, used by the NNPC in relation to Petroleum Pipeline Marketing Company (PPMC), is underquoted.

The lawmaker described this as fraudulent while also expressing worry that the subsidy regime has been used by the NNPC and other critical stakeholders to subvert the nation’s crude oil revenue to the tune of over $10 billion.

The committee is to report back to the House within eight weeks for further legislative action.

READ ALSO: Why FG Cannot Introduce Subsidy On Diesel – NNPC Boss

Wednesday’s move by the lawmaker came on the same day that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mele Kyari ruled out the possibility of a subsidy for diesel.

He made the comments while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Downstream, alongside the CEO of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Farouk Ahmed, among others.

“In our country today, we do not produce AGO and we regret that our refineries are not working,” he said. “Are we doing anything about it? Yes. I have heard the honourable members lamenting; yes, they (the refineries) are not working.

“This is the truth. I don’t want to bore you with why they are not working, but they are not working; I admit they are not working but we regret it. I will invite this committee at your convenience to join us to see how much work we have done to get them back to work, but they will not come back tomorrow.

“They will not! You cannot start it tomorrow. We regret this; we regret this situation, and we are doing everything possible. As a matter of fact, we have decided to do a quick fix for the Warri refinery. The reason is very simple: we don’t even want to go the long route of doing comprehensive turnaround maintenance because we are concerned.”

Electoral Act Amendment: Bill To Override Buhari Stepped Down

 

A bill to override President Muhammadu Buhari over his delay in signing the amendment to the Electoral Act 2022, has been stepped down at the House of Representatives.

The bill was stepped down on Tuesday after the Deputy Speaker faulted it, stating that any move to override requires 2/3rd of members.

He advised the sponsor of the motion – Ben Igbakpa to step it down as it violates procedure for overriding the President.

Read Also: President Buhari Sends Ministerial List To Senate For Screening

It’s been over 30 days since the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the one-item amendment to the Electoral Act 2022.

But the President has yet to sign it or communicate a decision to the National Assembly about the bill.

Displeased by the inaction, some reps members relied on section 58 (5) which gives the National Assembly the power to override the President if he withholds assent.

Below are details of the motion:

Need to Invoke Section 58(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Pass Again the Electoral Act, 2022: Hon. Ben Rollands Igbakpa

The House: Notes that by virtue of section 58(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, Laws shall be exercised by Bills passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and, except as otherwise provided by Section 58 (5) of the Constitution, assented to by the President;

Aware that on Thursday, 12 May, 2022 the National Assembly transmitted to the President for assent, the Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act, 2022 which amended Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act, 2022 to allow Statutory Delegates to participate in Political Parties Congresses and conventions;

Also aware that by virtue of the provision of Section 58(4) the President has 30 days to assent to the aforementioned Electoral Amendment Act, 2022 or formally communicate to the National Assembly his decision to decline assent; Concerned that the time frame for the President to assent or decline assent to the Bill has elapsed since 11 June, 2022;

Also concerned that the actions or inactions of the President to perform his constitutional duty is an affront to Section 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 which empowers the National Assembly to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof;

Conscious that Section 58 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 empowers the National Assembly to override the President when he vetoes a Bill or fails, refuses and/or neglects to act thereto, through a two-third majority vote;

Worried that the continued inaction of the President in either assenting or vetoing the Bill has left a lacuna in Nigeria’s constitutional democracy which portends danger to the 2023 electoral process and other subsequent staggered elections of some states thus, leaving the Congress of Political Parties in the hands of Ad-hoc delegates to the detriment of statutory delegates;

Convinced that a prompt action by the Honourable House to cure the patent constitutional lacuna is imperative by invoking Section 58 (5) of the constitution which states that where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by two-thirds majority, the Bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required;

Resolves to: (i) Invoke Section 58(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) with respect to the Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act, 2022 i.e Amendment of Section 84(8) thereof to allow Statutory delegates to participate in Political Parties Congress and convention;

(ii) Communicate the position of the House of Representatives to the Senate for concurrence.

Reps To Intervene In Farah Dagogo’s Arrest, Arraignment

A file photo of Mr Farah Dagogo.

 

The leadership of the House of Representatives is to intervene in the arrest and arraignment of a member from Rivers State, Farah Dagogo.

The decision of the House is sequel to a motion raised by Honourable Chisom Dike calling for the urgent release of the lawmaker.

Farah Dagogo, who is also a governorship aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was arrested on the order of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on the 28th of April and arraigned before a Magistrate Court in Port Harcourt on the 29th April.

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The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, expressed concern that the lawmaker is still in police custody despite the charge against him being bailable.

He, however, insisted that the house will not take a position but rely on the law to take its course.

Reps Decry Insecurity As Lawmaker Demands Defence Minister, NSA’s Sack

A file photo of lawmakers during a plenary at the House of Representatives chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The House of Representatives has lamented the security situation in the country.

A member of the House of Representatives and Chairman of the House Committee on Police Affairs, Bello Kumo, is calling for the sack of the Minister of Defence and National Security Adviser.

READ ALSOPresident Buhari Swears In ICPC, NPC Commissioners

The lawmaker blamed the president for the security situation in the country by refusing to sack both security heads.

Another lawmaker, Linda Ikpeazu, described the country as a failed state while the deputy speaker accused the security agencies of complicity, citing an instance where a soldier was arrested for supplying uniforms to bandits.

Buhari Writes Reps, Seeks Approval of N4trn As Petrol Subsidy For 2022

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari used to illustrate the story.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking an increase in the provision for petrol subsidy for 2022 from N442 billion to N4 trillion. 

The Nigerian leader has therefore written to the House of Representatives for a review of the 2022 fiscal framework.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajamila, read the letter, titled “Submission of the Revised 2022 Fiscal Framework” during plenary on Thursday. 

Buhari in the letter dated April 5, cited the rising market price of crude oil heightened by the Russian-Ukraine war.

“As you are aware, there have been new developments both in the global economy as well as in the domestic economy which have necessitated the revision of the 2022 Fiscal Framework on which the 2022 Budget was based,” he said.

“These developments include spikes in the market price of crude oil, aggravated by the Russian-Ukraine war, significantly lower oil production volume due principally to production shut-ins as a result of massive theft of crude oil between the production platforms and the terminals.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Redeploys Mohammed Abdullahi As Minister Of Environment

According to him, the adjustments to the 2022 fiscal framework include a rise in the estimated crude oil price benchmark from $62 per barrel to $73 per barrel. 

“A reduction in the projected oil production volume by 283,000 barrels per day, from 1.883 million barrels per day to 1.600 million barrels per day,”  Buhari’s letter read. 

Lawmaker Seeks Six Months Jail Term, N500,000 Fine For Crossdressers In Nigeria

A file photo of the House of Reps.

 

A bill seeking to amend the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (2013) and also outlaw cross-dressing in Nigeria has been introduced for first reading at the House of Representatives.

Referencing Section 4 of the same-sex Marriage Prohibition Act (2013) Honourable Muda Lawal Ulnar who sponsored the bill on Tuesday during plenary, proposed that cross-dressing whether done privately or publicly, should be prohibited.

He is also proposing 6 months imprisonment or a fine of N500,000 for anyone found guilty.

Read Also: Senate Extends Implementation Of 2021 Budget

“A person shall be deemed to have committed the offence publicly where it is published or displayed publicly notwithstanding that it was committed privately or in any place that would have ordinarily been described as private. Provided that this section of this Act shall not apply to cross-dressing in the course of a stage play or in any bona fide public entertainment.

“That Section 5 is amended by inserting, after the existing sub-clause (3), a new sub-clause (4): That a person engaged in cross-dressing is guilty of an offense and liable to imprisonment for 6 months or to a fine of N500,000.

In addition, Hon. Ulnar is seeking for Section 7 of the Principal Act to be amended by introducing the word “cross-dressing and defining same as the practice of wearing clothes usually worn by a person of the opposite sex”.

Reps Meet With Service Chiefs Behind Closed Doors

File photo: Mr Femi Gbajabiamila presides over a plenary at the House of Representatives chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The House of Representatives is holding a closed-door meeting with security chiefs, headed by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Present at the meeting are the Chief of Defence Staff Gen Lucky Irabor; Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo; Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Isiaka Amao; Director-General National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar; Director-General Department of State Services (DSS) Yusuf Magaji Bichi and Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba.

Others at the meeting include the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Director-General Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Capt. Fola Akinkuotu and Director-General Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Musa Nuhu are also part of the meeting.

Read Also: Governors To Meet With House Of Assembly Speakers In Abuja

Details later…

Brain Drain: Reps Seek Automatic Employment For First Class Graduates

A file photo of the House of Reps.

 

The House of Representatives wants automatic employment for first class graduates from Nigerian institutions.

The House believes this will serve as motivation for Nigerian students and enable graduates to maximize their potential.

Representative Chinedu Martins, who moved the motion on Wednesday, said this will address the concerns of exporting the best brains to other countries.

While giving his presentation on the ‘Need to Grant Automatic Employment to First Class Graduates,’ Hon Martins stressed that Nigerian universities produce hundreds of first class graduates annually at the end of every academic year, adding that “a great percentage of them find it difficult to secure employment and contribute to nation-building”.

READ ALSO: Reps Reject Bill Seeking To Bar Public Officers’ Children From Studying Abroad

He lamented that the inability of many first class graduates to secure gainful employments has continued to force the nation’s brightest minds to flee the country, thereby, enriching the human resources of those nations, leaving the nation at a loss.

“According to research, Nigeria has continued to unwittingly give away her best brains and intellectuals to other countries who, by virtue of their robust policies on a value system, reward diligence and excellence as can be seen in the exodus of medical professionals from Nigeria to other countries.

“Reports have shown in seeking admissions to universities, students consider countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, France, Australia, China, Canada as it increases their chances of being employed upon graduation,” Hon. Martins asserted.

The lawmaker argued that automatic employment for first class graduates will serve as a source of motivation for students to work harder. According to him, it will also help them to maximize their potential in preparation for different economic roles, future leadership positions, and ultimately reduce unemployment while helping the nation achieve its developmental goals.

Having heard Hon Martin’s case, the House adopted the motion and urged the Federal Ministry of Education to liaise with relevant government agencies to ensure employment for first class graduates of Nigerian Institutions.

The Reps also mandated its Committees on Tertiary Education and Services, and Labour, Employment, and Productivity to ensure compliance with the resolutions reached.