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Kogi Speaker reiterates necessity for financial autonomy for LG, State Assembly

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Kogi Speaker reiterates necessity for financial autonomy for LG, State Assembly

By John Akubo

The speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly Alfa Imam has re-echoed the advocacy for local Governments to have financial autonomy so that the Nigeria democracy can thrive at the grassroots levels.
Speaking in a telephone interview with NationalUpdate in Lokoja from the venue of the constitutional amendment conference in Lagos recently Imam said, if the third tier of Government is not autonomous it is actually opened to manipulations by Governors.
“You could see that Governors don’t even allow for election to be held at that level, that is because they are not autonomous.
It is just there on paper that we have three tiers of Government : Federal, State and Local Government.”
The speaker said constitutionally the Local Government is not actually a tier but just for the mention.
He said in the current effort on constitutional amendment their position is to make it a tier of Government in the constitution.
“So that even though it would be a tier they can actually be under the supervision of the State Assembly as provided for in section 7 of the constitution as amended , that is okay.
“If that has to be we need to abolish the joint account allocation committee, it has to go so that there could be that autonomy.”
He said from the arguments the Governors take charge and give them what they wish which is not working for the development that we should have at the grassroots level which is making it difficult even for those of us representing the people.
“If the autonomy must sail through then the other ingredients must go along: Abolition of the Joint Account system so that their allocation can hit the local Government account as first line charge.”
On the issue of the financial requirements for primary school teachers he said leaving primary school teachers financial obligation to the local Government councils would not work because their allocation can not sustain the payment of their salaries.
“There is nothing constitutional about the fact that Local Government should fund primary school education. NULGE, ALGON and NUT all want the autonomy for the Local Government but they don’t want the financial burden of primary school teachers to be on Local Governments.
“We are looking at the possibility where the financial obligation for primary school teachers would be shared among the three tiers of Government, let a little burden go to the Local Government.”
He said though constitutionally only the national Assembly can alter the constitution however going by the fact that the last two attempts suffered some deficits they have to involve the stakeholders because the entire exercise will come to nullity if it is killed again.
He said no matter what happens with the amendment it has to have the blessing of the two-third majority of the 36 State Houses of Assembly.
Imam blamed members of the 36 State Houses of Assembly in the last dispensation for failing to vote for their own autonomy when they had opportunity to correct the anomaly that has perpetually kept the legislature under the overbearing influence of their Governors.

“You know it is a shame that state Assemblies even voted for autonomy for the national Assembly but deprived themselves the same autonomy. “What could be more shameful. We are hoping to achieve it. We would sensitize all members to know that it is not about today but after now. Today you are here it could be another person tomorrow. We are all doing this for prosperity.”

He said the legislature being the fulcrum of democracy, needed to have financial autonomy explaining if not then it would be difficult for them to discharge their responsibility.

He said financial autonomy for all State Houses of Assembly is very crucial so that they can have a life of their own and the independence.
“The various Houses of Assembly have been bogged down with the overbearing influences of the State Governors and that is why we are pressing hard for our own autonomy. If we get it here it is just for us to go and get the two-third to achieve our own.”

According to him, the conference was made up of the committee members for the amendment of the constitution of bother the Senate and the House of representatives, the 36 State House if Assembly speakers including their majority leaders.
He said there was a tilt towards women, adding that if they had women representatives in our assembly they would have come along with them.
“At the conference autonomy is sure to scale through but at the State level the various State Houses of Assembly have to do the needful to ensure it is passed.

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Osakwe asks Buhari to embrace Dialogue over South-West Crisis

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Osakwe asks Buhari to embrace Dialogue over South-West Crisis

The Federal Government must embrace dialogue as a means to end ongoing crisis in the South-West Nigeria, former Presidential candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), in the 2019 general elections, Ambassador Felix Johnsom Osakwe has said.

While expressing concerns over the state of affairs in a statement made available to newsmen yesterday, he urged President Muhammedu Buhari to seek for amicable ways to resolve the crisis rather than using any aggressive confrontation that could make things worse.

He stressed that since the country has been effected by COVID -19 pandemic, security challenges and economic downturn at this time, there was a need for the federal government and President Muhammadu Buhari to take responsibility to ensuring that the stabiltiy of the country was not compromised.

He noted that as an Ambassador for Peace with the Universal Peace Federation, he was worried about the deteriorating situation and the Federal government’s confrontational stance about the matter especially with regards to the Pro-Yoruba activist and agitator, Sunday Igboho.

” I am strongly of the opinion that what Mr. President needs to do now is to embrace peaceful dialogue and be the father of the entire nation. He should push for peace and call the agitating parties to a parley and get them to resolve the issues. There is already a lot of tension in the air and considering how tenuous 2020 was for us all, it is only appropriate that as we get on about building back better and rebuilding our economy, we don’t tear down what small wins we have recorded by inciting and perpetuating more conflicts, either explicitly or by complicity,” he said.

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AESID hails Ebonyi CP, warns against intimidation of judges by state govt

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AESID hails Ebonyi CP, warns against intimidation of judges by state govt

The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has warned the state government to stop intimidating Judges in the cause of their duties, even as it commended the new Commissioner of Police for being professional.

The Ebonyi indigenes said the agents of state government were trying to manipulate the judiciary into causing trouble in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

In a statement released by its President, Amb. Paschal Oluchukwu, on Sunday in Abuja, the association said the goal is to continue to cause division in the PDP by having the Nwebonyi group parade as a factional State Exco of the PDP through Suit No: HAB/161/2020 with Roy Umahi as the lead counsel to the Plaintiffs.

“We condemn, whole and entire the desperate attempts to use the Judiciary to achieve the threat of being in APC and sponsoring crises and divisions in the PDP.”

While commending the Ebonyi Judiciary for remaining firm as the last hope of the common man, the statement charges it to remain steadfast and unwavering.

“Already, we have read in the media through the former Assistant Financial Secretary of the Nwebonyi group who recently dumped the camp, Linus Ogazi how Governor Umahi divided the Excos in order to create a parallel faction of the party.

“AESID is also aware of the threats and intimidations that the young man has been receiving since he made the disclosures and wishes to call on Security agencies to call the Governor, his brothers and the Speaker of the State’s House of Assembly who have been dishing out threats to him to order. They should be held responsible for whatever happens to Mr. Ogazi.”

On the activities of the new Commissioner of Police, CP Aliyu Garba, the group thanked the police for their professional role in ensuring that those who staged a protest recently at the state High Court were dispelled peacefully.

“We, however wish to counsel the new CP to remain as professional and apolitical as his erstwhile colleague, CP Philip Maku who has been transferred from the state.

“AESID also calls on security agencies and INEC to obey the order of Justice I. E. Ekwo of the Abuja Federal High Court in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1609/2020 restraining David Umahi’s faction of the PDP in Ebonyi State led by the gadfly, Nwebonyi and his cohorts from parading themselves as officers of the Party. They should therefore provide security and accord protection to the Udeogu-led Exco to legitimately takeover the State Secretariat of the Party for the interest of justice, peace and unity of the opposition party.

“AESID lastly commends the Udeogu-led Excos and indeed, the teeming members of PDP for their calmness, steadfastness and resoluteness amidst attacks and wanton provocations by Governor Umahi and his surrogates. For in the end, it shall indeed, be proven to all that Ebonyi is PDP and PDP is Ebonyi State and Umahi is only a solo naked dance in his new political voyage!”

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APC disowns notice on postponement of Membership registration exercise

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APC disowns notice on postponement of  Membership registration exercise

The All progressives Congress (APC) has disclaimed “Notice” in circulation and ascribed to the APC CECPC National Secretary, Sen. John J. Akpan Udoedeghe Ph.D.

The party describes the notice as fake and highly mischievous.

This was contained in a statement that was issued in Abuja, Saturday by its National Secretary
Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Sen. John J. Akpan Udoedeghe.

The Statement reads, “The APC membership registration, revalidation and update exercise remains on course and commences as scheduled in the attached timetable.

“As earlier announced, the CECPC has approved the constitution of State Membership Registration Committees for the Party’s nationwide membership registration, revalidation and update exercise. This will be followed by a train-the-trainer workshop.”

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