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CCB/CCT: The Senate On A Slippery Slope

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CCB/CCT: The Senate On A Slippery Slope

By Zainab Suleiman Okino

The National Assembly is not done yet in their revenge mission to perhaps ‘deal’ with the CCB chairman, Justice Danladi Umar and clip the wings of the president, with its renewed vigour and passage of the CCT Act. The implication of the Senate’s insensitivity to the sentiment of Nigerians can only lead them to a cul-de-sac. Were the lawmakers to conduct a survey on themselves in respect of the CCB Act, they will be shocked to discover how unpopular and low-rated they are in the estimation of the populace. For Nigerians, the Senate’s insistence on the latest amendment is a glaring case of vendetta against the CCB/CCT and of course an affront on the presidency, notwithstanding the fact that the lawmakers are constitutionally empowered to amend any Acts or even the constitution.
They will have to win the hearts of Nigerians before they can win the war to reduce the powers of the CCT chairman and the president, going by the barrage of condemnations trailing their latest action.
The amendment, if and when assented to, will strip the president of the right to exercise authority over the bureau and transfer same to the National Assembly. Instead of the “president”, most of the amended sections now read “the National Assembly” … while they also deleted section 1(4) of the Act which used to read “the chairman and any member shall vacate office upon attaining the age of seventy” and replaced it with “the chairman and members shall serve for a term of five years subject to renewal for one further term only”
If the lawmakers’ amendments were mainly about tenure, many would have concurred. As it were, it was not appropriate or logical for CCT members to sit tight till they are seventy years of age, without taking into cognizance their age at the time of their appointment. It means, if one becomes chairman or member of the Tribunal at the age of 50, barring death and other unforeseen circumstances, the person would serve for 20 years. Certainly, this can create room for corruption and nepotism among other societal ills. However, that was only a smokescreen to give the entire amendment a semblance of legitimacy.
The amendment/introduction of Section 20 (2) which borders on the Tribunal having to form a quorum before judgements on any issue or person can be passed is commendable. The new amendment prescribes a minimum of three out of the five Tribunal members to be present at any sitting. This is a good precedent as verdicts will no longer be at the whims and caprices of one man whose prejudices are capable of swaying the course of justice.
Then the bizarre Section 3(d) which makes “compulsory for any case of breach or non compliance to be brought to the notice of the person concerned to enable him make a written admission of such breach or non-compliance and where such is done, there shall be no reference to the tribunal”. Again, with the new amendment, the appointment of Tribunal members is subject to the confirmation of the Senate as against the current system which mandates the NJC to recommend to the president. These two are capable of watering down the position and power of the Tribunal, while the Senate wields the big stick.  If this applies in the ongoing trial of the Senate President, the case would have since been dead. It is wishful thinking for the Senate to want to oversight all MDAs, while their activities remain opaque.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki is standing trial at the CCT over a 13-count charge of false assets declaration, and now the amendment. Haba!  This is a wrong-headed approach and not even smart enough.  A senate that makes law for the self-serving interest of 109 ‘special ones’ as against 170 million citizens of the country is not worthy of their election. The amendment presupposes that the Senate President is guilty, and so in a hurry to intimidate the CCT and the presidency to submission.  Legislators have a bad reputation; they are largely seen as treasury looters, who collect outrageous salaries and emoluments and do nothing.  This latest problem will compound their negative perception among Nigerians.
If the history of constitution amendments since 1999 is anything to go by, the lawmakers are again set on a game they might not be able to win. All previous attempts to amend the constitution failed because they there were elements of personal interests ingrained in them. In 2003, all amendments to the constitution were thrown out because of one ‘ugly’ item—the third term ambition of then President Olusegun Obasanjo. The last one failed because of the overbearing influence of President Goodluck Jonathan in the final inputs.
If the unseen hands of previous presidents could be spotted in previous amendments and therefore rejected, one wonders how far the Senate president and his co-travellers can go in arm-twisting Nigerians to accept amendments done for their protection, to the neglect of other bills that are critical to address current socio-economic challenges.

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PDP expresses dismay that Buhari will blame the dead for his failure

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PDP expresses dismay that Buhari will blame the dead for his failure

**Says remark is an open support for insurgency

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday expressed dismay that a President would blame the dead fir his cluelessness.

The major opposition party in Nigeria described as weird, reprehensible and repulsive that the Buhari Presidency now seeks to turn itself into a mouthpiece of terrorists by its subtle attempt to rationalize the killing of innocent and hard working Nigerians.
The party said it is shocked that the Buhari Presidency has graduated from making bogus claims of having degraded terrorism to the embarrassing point of blaming unprotected and helpless Nigerians for falling victims of terrorist attacks.

It said; “This, to say the least, is the height of leadership failure of the lazy, lethargic and incompetent Buhari administration”.
It stressed that it is alarmed by the reckless and bizarre attempt by the Buhari Presidency to rationalize the gruesome beheading of 43 innocent Nigerians by insurgents in Zabarmari, Borno state.
The PDP particularly said that it is outraged by the Buhari Presidency’s claims that the farmers were killed because they failed to get clearance before going to their farms.
The Party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the statement by the Presidency is also an admission that the Buhari administration has been overwhelmed by terrorists and can no longer guarantee Nigerians and other citizens a normal life.

The statement reads, “This unpatriotic stance smacks of support for acts of terrorism and mindless killing of our compatriots by a government whose Commander-in-Chief had promised Nigerians to lead the battle against insurgents from the front.
“Our party is forced to hold that attitudes such as the unpatriotic remark of the Buhari Presidency embolden insurgents in their ceaseless attacks in our country.
“Such also provides further insights into the escalation of acts of terrorism in our country in the last five years.
“It is therefore insensitive for the Buhari Presidency to have shown this huge lack of empathy, which amounts to a spat on the grave of the slain as well as an unpardonable slap on the faces of the generality of mourning Nigerians.

“Perhaps this also informs why their party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has not deemed it fit to have a word of lamentation for the death nor consolation for the bereaved.
The party therefore chalkenged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately withdraw the offensive statement by his Presidency and apologize to Nigerians, particularly the people of Borno state.
The PDP also restated its call to President Buhari to heed the demands by Nigerians to rejig the nation’s security architecture as well as replace his Service Chiefs with more competent hands in the interest of the nation.

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Prof Yakubu harps on electoral act ammendment to allow over 1 million adhoc staff to vote

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Prof Yakubu harps on electoral act ammendment to allow over 1 million adhoc staff to vote

The provisions of the Nigeria’s electoral law may be disenfranchising over 1 million over one million Nigerians of voting age, the chairmanship nominee of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has observed
Speaking on Thursday at his confirmation hearing organized by the Senate Committee on INEC, Yakubu noted that the current law allows voters to vote only where they have registered.

He said this has denied INEC staff and ad hoc ones deployed for election duties, journalists and election observers the opportunity to exercise their civic duty during elections.
“We engaged about one million ad hoc staff during the last general elections. This means that the staff and others deployed for election duties did not vote,” he said.
He said until the law is amended to allow voters to cast their ballots wherever they are, millions of registered voters would continue to be denied voting rights.
Prof Yakubu also said the Commission needs to construct strong rooms in all the 36 states of the federation and FCT to store smart card readers and other election materials.
This, he said, was to prevent them from burning in case of fire incident.

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Senator Abbo vows to unseat Fintiri using APC platform

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Senator Abbo vows to unseat Fintiri using APC platform

Senator Ishaku Abbo (Adamawa North) has debunked insinuations that he was overwhelmed by tirades of attacks from his Governor hence he left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Speaking to senate press Corps after officially announcing his exit he said left the party to be able to square it up with the Governor in 2023
Senator Abbo had announced his defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in a letter addressed to the Senate President Ahmad Lawan and read during plenary on Wednesday. 

The lawmaker said though he fought for Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri’s victory in 2019, the governor chased him out of PDP due to his alleged mismanagement of the party, which, Abbo said, had led to polarization. 

Senator expressed optimism that he will defeat the state governor in 2023. 

He said: “I’m not overwhelmed by Governor Fintiri. I fought to bring him to power. 

“The governor did not defeat me. The governor chased me out (of PDP). I actually gave way so I will go and take his seat from him.”

With his defection, APC now has 60 senators, while PDP 42. The ninth Senate has six vacant seats.

Abbo announced his defection in a letter addressed to the House, read by Senate President Ahmad Lawan during Wednesday’s plenary session.

In the letter, Abbo stated that his decision to defect to the APC is because of the mismanagement of the PDP in Adamawa state by Governor Umaru Fintiri.

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