Senate Debates Report On Alleged Non Remitted 49.8 Billion Dollars

Senate_ChamberThe Senate has rejected the removal of fuel subsidy as recommended in a report by its Committee on Finance in its probe of the alleged non remittance of 49.8 billion dollars oil revenue.

The Senate Committee on Finance in its report recommended that the subsidy regime be totally abolished.

Although the controversy have cooled with media attention shifting to other issues, the Senate chose to revisit the allegations made by the immediate past CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido, that the NNPC failed to remit 49.8 billion dollars to the federation account.

The Senate had asked its Committee on Finance to investigate the former CBN Governor’s allegations and the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Ahmed Markarfi, gave details of the investigation at plenary.

He said that there was never any unremitted 49.8 billion dollars and the committee did not see how the CBN Governor arrived at the figure of 49.8 billion dollars in the first place.

The Committee observed that there had been lack of proper and adequate coordination between the key Government agencies such as CBN, NNPC, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Petroleum, FIRS and the DPR.

Lawmakers then debated the report, but the debate got off on a rocky start as the recommendation by the committee in its report that the subsidy regime be totally abolished was shot down by lawmakers.

Before lawmakers voted against the removal of fuel subsidy, Senate President, David Mark, had called for caution in making the decision to remove fuel subsidy, warning lawmakers not to pitch themselves against the public.

Meanwhile, the committee has also recommended that the NNPC refund and remit 262 million dollars being expenses it could not satisfactorily defend in respect of holding strategic stock reserve, pipeline maintenance and management cost as well as capital expenditure.


Senate President Cautions Lawmakers Against Provocative Statements

Senate President, David Mark, has cautioned lawmakers against being agents of factional and intra party politics.

The Senate President, who gave the advice in his welcome address to lawmakers who just returned from Christmas and New Year recess, bemoaned the current political tension caused by ‘naked ambition’ of the political class.

He warned lawmakers against making provocative statements that could overheat the polity.

After four weeks holiday, federal lawmakers have resumed for legislative activities, but both chambers are resuming in an atmosphere of political uncertainty and re-alignment, caused by defection from one political party to another.

This is further heightened by a court order which restrains lawmakers from effecting leadership change and maintenance of status quo.

Although, the Senate has not experienced the same event seen in the House of Representatives, whereby lawmakers publicly defected from the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the main opposition, All Progressives Congress, APC, the Senate President cautioned lawmakers against engaging in what he called primordial politics.

The lawmakers’ resumption is expected to give a clearer picture of how the politics of defection would eventually play out in the Senate.

Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello Writes Bashing Letter To Father

After Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s critical letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, his daughter Iyabo Obasanjo has allegedly sent him an equally scathing letter.

Senator Iyabo Obasanjo in a letter to her father allegedly accused him of having an egoistic craving for power and living a life where only men of low esteem and intellect thrive.

In the 11-page letter dated December 16, 2013 exclusively obtained by Vanguard online, Iyabo accused her father of orchestrating a third term for himself as president, cruelty to family members, abandonment of children and grandchildren, and also, a legendary reputation of maltreatment of women.

Iyabo who forswore further political engagements in Nigeria denied any political motive for her missive, and described Nigeria as a country where her father and his ilk have helped to create a situation where smart, capable people bend down to imbeciles to survive. She particularly noted her experience as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health when she led the committee on a retreat appropriated for in the budget only for her to be prosecuted for it.

Iyabo, first child of the former president, started the letter titled, Open Letter to my Father with a 4th century Chinese proverb by Mencius which states: “The great man is he who does not lose his child’s heart.”

Immediate Denial

However in a swift reaction, the former Senator denied writing the letter claiming “Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo is the best father in the world”.

She was alleged to have made the claims on a radio station.

She was quoted as saying that “I did not write any letter to my father”, insisting that “I have never seen or heard this sort of fabrication in my entire life!”

“I, IYABO OBASANJO never contemplate writing a letter to my Loving Father. I speak with him almost on a daily basis. “Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo is the best father in the world. He gave birth to me, he raised me up and gave me the best of education”. She allegedly said

She noted that she wouldn’t have “achieved whatever I did without my father. In fact, who am i wothout my father? “As a father he never disappoints his children in any way, he is a father anybody wishes to have.

She was reported to have called on President Jonathan to own up and be man enough to reply her father.

“If President Jonathan wants to reply the letter my father wrote him, he should be man enough to reply direct. Why are they trying to make me a scape goat? I know my father very well and I don’t question his judgement, I believe my father wrote his letter in the best interest of the nation.

“If Mr President disagrees with some of the allegations in the latter, let him be man enough to talk directly to my father, he should stop involving me in an issue I know nothing about.

“How can you write a letter to insult my father and claim I, the daughter is the source. If that is how Ijaw people insult their father, I am a Yoruba woman; we respect our parent in all circumstances.

“I Iyabo Obasanjo did not write any letter. Nigerians should please take note. “The purported letter is a malicious lie intended to rubbish the good name of my family, when I get to the source of the letter, I will waste no time to take the necessary legal actions. “I love my father and I never disrespect him.”

All efforts by Channels Television to reach both parties proved abortive.


Her letter in full:

“It brings me no joy to have to write this but since you started this trend of open letters I thought I would follow suit since you don’t listen to anyone anyway. The only way to reach you may be to make the public aware of some things. As a child well brought up by my long-suffering mother in Yoruba tradition, I have been reluctant to tell the truth about you but as it seems you still continue to delude yourself about the kind of person you are and I think for posterity’s sake it is time to set the records straight.

“I will return to the issue of my long-suffering mother later in this letter.

“Like most Nigerians, I believe there are very enormous issues currently plaguing the country but I was surely surprised that you will be the one to publish such a treatise. I remember clearly as if it was yesterday the day I came over to Abuja from Abeokuta when I was Commissioner of Health in Ogun State, specifically to ask you not to continue to pursue the third term issue.

“I had tried to bring it up when your sycophantic aides were present and they brushed my comments aside and as usual you listened to their self-serving counsel. For you to accuse someone else of what you so obviously practiced yourself tells of your narcissistic megalomaniac personality.  Everyone around for even a few minutes knows that the only thing you respond to is praise and worship of you. People have learnt how to manipulate you by giving you what you crave. The only ones that can’t and will not stroke your ego are family members who you universally treat like shit (sic) apart from the few who have learned to manipulate you like others.

“Before I continue, Nigerians are people who see conspiracy and self-service in everything because I think they believe everyone is like them. This letter is not in support of President Jonathan or APC or any other group or person, but an outpouring from my soul to God. I don’t blame you for the many atrocities you have been able to get away with, Nigerians were your enablers every step of the way. People ultimately get leaders that reflect them.

“Getting back to the story, I made sure your aides were not around and brought up the issue, trying to deliver the presentation of the issue as I had practiced it in my head. I started with the fact that we copied the US constitution which has term limits of two terms for a President. As is your usual manner, you didn’t allow me to finish my thought process and listen to my point of view. Once I broached the subject you sat up and said that the US had no term limits in the past but that it had been introduced in the 1940s after the death of President Roosevelt, which is true.

I wanted to say to you: when you copy something you also copy the modifications based on the learning from the original; only a fool starts from scratch and does not base his decisions on the learning of others. In science, we use the modifications found by others long ago to the most recent, as the basis of new findings; not going back to discover and learn what others have learnt. Human knowledge and development and civilization will not have progressed if each new generation and society did not build on the knowledge of others before them.

The American constitution itself is based on several theories and philosophies of governance available in the 18th century. Democracy itself is a governance method started by the ancient Greeks. America’s founding fathers used it with modifications based on what hadn’t worked well for the ancient Greeks and on new theories since then.

“As usual in our conversations, I kept quiet because I know you well.  You weren’t going to change your mind based on my intervention as you had already made up your mind on the persuasion of the minions working for you who were ripping the country blind. When I spoke to you, your outward attitude to the people of the country was that you were not interested in the third term and that it was others pushing it. Your statement to me that day proved to me that you were the brain behind the third term debacle. It is therefore outrageous that you accuse the current President of a similar two-facedness that you yourself used against the people of the country.

“I was on a plane trip between Abuja and Lagos around the time of the third term issue and I sat next to one of your sycophants on the plane.  He told me: “Only Obasanjo can rule Nigeria”.  I replied: “God has not created a country where only one person can rule. If only one person can rule Nigeria then the whole Nigeria project is not a viable one, as it will be a non-sustainable project”

“I don’t know how you came about Yar’Adua as the candidate for your party as it was not my priority or job. Unlike you, I focus on the issues I have been given responsibility over and not on the jobs of others. It was the day of the PDP Presidential Campaign in Abeokuta during the state-by-state tour of 2007 that Yar’Adua got sick and had to be flown abroad. The MKO Abiola Stadium was already filled with people by 9am when I drove by (and) we had told people based on the campaign schedule that the rally would start at noon.

At 11 am I headed for the stadium on foot; it was a short walk as there were so many cars already parked in and out. As I walked on with two other people, we saw crowds of people leaving the stadium. I recognized some of them as politicians and I asked them why people were leaving. They said  the Presidential candidate had died. I was alarmed and shocked. I walked back home and received a call from a friend in Lagos who said the same and added that he had died in the plane carrying him abroad for treatment and that the plane was on its way to Katsina to bury him.

I called you, and told you the information and that the stadium was already half-empty. You told me to go to the stadium and tell the people on the podium to announce that the Presidential candidate had taken ill that morning but the rest of the team, including you and the Vice-Presidential candidate would arrive shortly.  I did as I was told, but even the people on the podium at first didn’t make the announcement because they thought it was true that Yar’Adua had died. I had to take the microphone and make the announcement myself. It did little good. People kept trooping out of the stadium. Your team didn’t arrive until 4pm and by this time we had just a sprinkling of people left.

That evening after the disaster of a rally, you said you had insisted that the Presidential candidate fly to Germany for a check-up although you said he only had a cold. I asked why would anyone fly to Germany to treat a cold?  And you said “I would rather die than have the man die at this time.”  I thought of this profound statement as things later unfolded against me.  Then I thought it a stupid statement but as usual I kept quiet, little did I know how your machinations for a person would be used against me.  When Yar’Adua eventually died, you stayed alive, I would have expected you to jump into his grave.

I left Nigeria in 1989 right after youth service to study in the US and I visited in 1994 for a week and didn’t visit again until your inauguration in 1999. In between, you had been arrested by Abacha and jailed. We, your children, had no one who stood with us. Stella famously went around collecting money on your behalf but we had no one.  We survived. I was the only one of the children working then as a post-doctoral fellow when I got the call from a friend informing me of your arrest.

A week before your arrest, you had called me from Denmark and I had told you that you should be careful that the government was very offended by some of your statements and actions and may be planning to arrest or kill you as was occurring to many at the time.  The source of my information was my mother who, agitated, had called me, saying I should warn you as this was the rumour in the country. As usual you brushed aside my comments, shouting on the phone that they cannot try anything and you will do and say as you please.  The consequence of your bravado is history.

We, your family, have borne the brunt of your direct cruelty and also suffered the consequences of your stupidity but got none of the benefits of your successes. Of course, anyone around you knows how little respect you have for your children.

You think our existence on earth is about you. By the way, how many are we? 19, 20, 21? Do you even know?  In the last five years, how many of these children have you spoken to? How many grandchildren do you have and when did you last see each of them? As President you would listen to advice of people that never finished high school who would say anything to keep having access to you so as to make money over your children who loved you and genuinely wished you well.

“At your first inauguration in 1999, I and my brothers and sisters told you we were coming from the US. As is usual with you, you made no arrangements for our trip, instead our mom organized to meet each of us and provided accommodation. At the actual swearing-in at Eagle Square, the others decided to watch it on TV. Instead I went to the square and I was pushed and tossed by the crowd.

I managed to get in front of the crowd where I waved and shouted at you as you and General Abdulsalam Abubakar  walked past to go back to the VIP seating area. I saw you mouth ‘my daughter’ to General Abdullahi who was the one who pulled me out of the crowd and gave me a seat. As I looked around I saw Stella and Stella’s family prominently seated but none of your children.  I am sure General Abdullahi would remember this incident and I am eternally grateful to him.

Getting back to my mother, I still remember your beating her up continually when we were kids. What kids can forget that kind of violence against their mother?  Your maltreatment of women is legendary.  Many of your women have come out to denounce you in public but since your madness is also part of the madness of the society, it is the women that are usually ignored and mistreated. Of course, you are the great pretender, making people believe you have a good family life and a good relationship with your children but once in a while your pretence gets cracked.

When Gbenga gave a ride to help someone he didn’t know but saw was in need and the person betrayed his trust by tapping his candid response on the issues going on between you and your then vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, you had your aides go on air and denounce the boy before you even spoke to him to find out what happened.  What kind of father does that? Your atrocities to some of my other siblings I will let them tell in their own due time or never if they choose.


Police Barricade Rivers House of Assembly, Disperse Protesters With Tear Gas

The Rivers State Police Command has dispersed a crowd at the state House Of Assembly with tear gas, after the state lawmakers held their plenary on the streets outside their premises.

Twenty-five out of the 26 members of the house had converged on the assembly earlier on Thursday to sit in compliance with a High Court order barring the National Assembly from taking over the functions of the assembly.

Trouble began to brew after the police barricaded the entrance to the state House of Assembly, forcing the lawmakers to hold their plenary in the open.

The lawmakers had gone to the House of Assembly with the intention of resuming the business of law-making after a Federal High Court in Abuja voided the resolution of the National Assembly to take over the legislative functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The court faulted the decision on the ground that the National Assembly cannot assume the law making functions of the House of Assembly when there were no facts that the assembly was unable to carry out its functions.

In nullifying the resolution, Justice Abubakar Mohammed restrained the Senate, the Senate President, the House of Representatives and the Speaker of the House of Representatives from assuming the law making functions of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The court also ruled that “the National Assembly does not have the powers to direct the Inspector-General of Police to re-deploy the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, or any other Police officer in the River State Police Command”.

Channels Television’s Rivers State correspondent reported that while the lawmakers insisted on entering their official place of work, the Police claimed that it had not been served with any authorising letter to permit them to enter into the premises.

The lawmakers resumed plenary on the road, but were chased out of the place by the police with tear gas.

Some persons suspected to be hoodlums resisted the Police’s action, as tear gas and gun shots rented the air.

2014 Budget Presentation Postponement Is Proper – Gbajabiamila

The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has referred to the postponement of the 2014 budget presentation by the president as the proper thing to do.

He said that the President offered very cogent reasons the budget could not be presented under the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Gbajabiamila admitted that the delay was a setback. “It looks like we’ve been put back in reverse, it’s rather unfortunate but then it’s a process and anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

He also added that the initial news that the President was planning to do the budget presentation by proxy was unconstitutional, and would not have been acceptable by a section of the legislature.

The members of the House appreciated the President’s decision with applause.

The Senate and the House of Representatives are both in accord over the postponement of the date for the budget presentation by President Jonathan.