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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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2023 Presidency: Bello tells oldies to cool their heels, as their time is up

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2023 Presidency:  Bello tells oldies to cool their heels, as their time is up

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State may have signaled to all the older persons jostling for the Presidency to jettison their ambitions as the time is for the younger generation
He said, the nation is bedevilled by leadership crises due to the absence of succession plan.
He spoke in Abuja on Saturday when he received a team of ex-Nigerian football internationals, led by a former Super Eagles player and coach, Augustine Eguavoen.
He said Nigerians should focus on competence of aspirants seeking for the presidency of the country as against the clamour for zoning.
The Gover had since thrown his hat in the ring backed with vigorous campaigns for the topmost job.
Bello expressed confidence that come 2023, the All Progressives Congress (APC) will provide the next generation of leaders who will fix the country.

He added that the earlier the seniors know that the time is up, the better for them.

Bello said competence should be the basis for the emergence of Nigeria’s next President instead of ethno-religious considerations.

Using the example of the new leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Governor Bello said it was time the old left the political stage for the younger generation. “Mr President who listens to the calls and yearnings of the youths appointed one of us to head the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and you are going to see the magic wand in the fight against corruption because Mr Bawa knows that the future lies squarely on the shoulders of the young generations.

So, we will do everything possible to assist Mr Bawa to succeed on the job. “No matter the energy or talent that you had put in building the Super Eagles of those days, if you don’t have successors, younger ones who will take over from you, we would not have still had some brilliant people on the pitch today.  “Both north and south do not know boundaries when it comes to football and other sports. So, we are appealing to Nigerians to look beyond religion and ethnicity. For once, let us get one person who will fix this country irrespective of where he comes from and then the rest shall follow. “I pray that good reasons will prevail on our seniors to know that the time is up for them because I have been charged with the responsibility of educating, sensitizing, mobilizing strong, energetic, committed and patriotic new generation of men and women. I will not fail in that responsibility. “I know that the youths and students are listening to me. We have spoken. We have communicated a nd we understand ourselves. We are ready to take leadership. We are not waiting to be simply called upon. We are saying, here we are. We are taking charge. “By the special grace of God, I can assure you that come 2023, our party under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari will provide the next generation of leaders who will fix this country. There will be Judases. No doubt about it. There will be gang ups. There will be landmines but we will overcome them. There will be obstacles. There will be hurdles but we will cross them. I think the elders, the earlier the seniors know that the time is up, the better for them. I want to finally urge our seniors and the federal and state governments to give every necessary support to those who made us proud at one time or the other,” he said.

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2023 election: Group asks Tinubu to declare his presidential interest

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2023 election: Group asks Tinubu to declare his presidential interest

***offers N10M to support purchase of Tinubu nomination form

By Doris Ferdinand

A group under the aegis of Tinubulate Nigeria Agenda (TINA) is urging Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to as a matter of urgency declare for 2023 presidential election.

Director General -TINA, Alamoh Kehinde Samuel disclosed this in an inaugural world press conference held at Tinubu Support Group Office in Abuja on Saturday.

Kehinde said after much consultation, the group decided to throw their weight behind Bola Ahmed Tinubu and give their unrelenting support to him because they are convinced that he is competent to actualize the Nigeria of their dream.

The group further offered a dummy cheque of N10,000,000 to support Asiwaju’s purchase of presidential nomination form.

“Our group has concluded plans to present a cheque to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as support for the purchase of the expression of interest and nomination forms to run for the presidency, when the party commences the sales of form.”Kehinde said.

“As a show of our commitment, we wish to present to Nigerians, a dummy cheque of N10,000,000 as support in the purchase of Asiwaju presidential nomination form immediately the APC commences sale of forms, this is to demonstrate our commitment to this course which is critical to the development and progress of our dear country.

“Again, we are convinced beyond every reasonable doubt that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu possesses all the qualities, competence, capability, capacity and experience needed to actualize the Nigeria of our dream.” Kehinde added.

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INEC schedules Aba North/South Federal Constituency for Saturday 27th March 2021

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INEC schedules Aba North/South Federal Constituency for Saturday 27th March 2021

By Janet Samuel

The Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed Saturday 27th March 2021 for the conduct of the bye-election to fill the vacant seat for the Aba North/South Federal Constituency of Abia State.
Thia was contained in a statement that was issued by National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.
The vacancy he said arose as a result of the death of Hon. Ossy Prestige, member representing Aba North/South Federal Constituency of Abia State in the House of Representatives and the subsequent declaration of vacancy for the Federal Constituency by the National Assembly.

He pointed out that the official notification for the election the commission said will be published on Monday 1st March 2021.
“Political Parties shall conduct their primaries between 4th and 10th March 2021 while the last day for submission of list of nominated candidates is at 6pm on the 16th March 2021.

“Political Parties shall submit the names of their Polling Agents for the election to the Electoral Officers of the respective Local Governments on or before 19th March 2021 and campaigns by political parties shall stop on 25th March 2021.

“The Access Code for the nomination forms shall be available for collection from 10th March 2021 at the Commission’s headquarters.

“Political parties fielding candidates for the bye-election should pay close attention to the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the conduct of the bye-election and conduct transparent and valid party primaries in line with the dictates of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (As amended).

“We enjoin political parties to note that under section 31(8) of the Electoral Act, a political party which presents to the Commission the name of a candidate who does not meet the qualifications stipulated in the Constitution and the Electoral Act shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a maximum fine of N500, 000.00

“The detailed Timetable and Schedule of activities has been uploaded on the Commission’s website and social media platforms.”

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