The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday adopted electronic transmission of election results, a position that was contained in the Conference Committee report submitted to the chamber.
The electronic transmission of election results which is a proviso in clause 53 of the Electoral amendment act places on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the right to transmit results without subjecting their discretion to any other organ as was firstly captured that generated controversy.
Adoption wasn’t, however, without heated debate which was brought under control by the presiding Senate President.
Before the adoption in the Committee of the whole, Senator Adamu Aliero and former governor of Kebbi State in his submission urged Senators to support the amendment in order to strengthen democracy.
He said: This is a move that will deepen our democracy and a move that will make the electorate to vote according to their conscience. This will put paid to criminals having their way as people of questionable character can no longer be voted.
Senator Smart Adeyemi representing Kogi West opposed the amendment on clause 87 which deals with direct primaries of political parties. He advocated strongly for some political parties who lack the capacity to organise direct primaries. He said it should be left for party executives to conduct indirect primaries.
However, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele representing Ekiti Central Senatorial districts said every card-carrying member of a political party should be allowed to vote for their aspirants.
According to him, the mode of party primary which is determined by all party members would be more democratic than indirect where a few party executives vote for aspirants.
“I support this motion and like to mention specifically that in clause 87 that every card-carrying member of any political party should be able to vote and it is a way of giving power back to the people.
“This is not about any political party, every political party will enjoy this, therefore, let every party member have the opportunity to vote who they wanted.”
Senator Abdulfatai Buhari representing Oyo North corroborated in his submission, saying those opposed to direct primaries were afraid, wondering that if a contestant was as popular as he thinks, then he or she needed not to be afraid.
“Let’s practice democracy in accordance with the global best practices. I see no reason why anybody should be afraid of direct primaries as it goes to solve problems of aspirants.
Senator Shuaibu Lau representing Taraba North Senatorial district called for caution in not tieing political parties to a form of conducting primaries. He said the mode of conducting primaries should be left for parties to decide.
He maintained: “I agree with amendment of clause 87 which has to do with political party primaries.
We must, therefore, not tie parties to one way traffic of conducting primaries and not because there are beliefs that governors are hijacking parties and not free parties to democratically elect their leaders.
When the chamber resorted to the committee of the whole, the electronic means of transmitting election results was passed, while political parties are to determine how their primaries are conducted.
Buhari Swears in Two INEC National Commissioners
President Muhammadu Buhari has sworn in two National Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The swearing-in took place on Monday at the Conference Hall of the First Lady’s office at the State House, Abuja, before the official launch of the eNaira and 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem.
The new National Commissioners are Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina State) and Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti State).
The duo are part of the six INEC commissioners cleared by the Senate in July this year.
President Buhari had on September 15, 2021, sworn in three of the cleared National Commissioners.
Aggrieved Benue Pensioners Task Ortom On 33 Months Arrears
Coalition of Aggrieved Pensioners in Benue State has called on the state government to direct the payment of their outstanding pensions and gratuities.
The union made this appeal, yesterday, in a rejoinder signed by its Chairman, Akosu Orban, and Secretary, Mac Mtsur, and made available to The Guardian in Makurdi.
Recently, the pensioners had protested against the non-payment of over 32 and 34 entitlements owed state and local council pensioners, even as they disclosed that they lost over 500 members to economic crunch.
But he state government had said it had agreement with the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) leaders, who are part of the Local Government Joint Account, and had been paying N700 million to pensioners in the state monthly.
Acting Press Secretary to the Governor, Nathaniel Ikyur, said out of this amount, N300 million was paid to the local council pensioners and N400 million to state pensioners.
He added: “This mode of payment has been in effect in the last six months and government intends to continue with it until we are able to stabilise the payment system.”
The aggrieved retirees, in the statement, wondered how N700 million would be released by the state government monthly as claimed by the governor, yet the number of months owed them kept rising.
Chairman of the forum intimated that out of the 33 months pension owed pensioners, only six months was inherited from the previous administration.
RELATEDLY, Ortom has raised the alarm over sharp practices at the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), where a wage bill of primary school teachers is padded.
Ortom, who expressed this at a meeting with local council chairmen, SUBEB among others, yesterday, at the New Banquet Hall of Benue Peoples House Makurdi, said, with the continuous hike in wage bills, the dead seemed to be coming to life to receive salaries.
The governor, who vowed to take decisive steps to end padding of salaries, gave the local council chairmen one month to unmask the cartel behind the padding.
If proper checks are carried out with the involvement of council chairmen, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), leakages and other unwholesome activities would be stopped to give room for more recruitment.
According to him, since the decision to engage 2,000 teachers in primary schools was sacrosanct, his government would do everything possible to block financial leakages in the sector to guarantee expected goal.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Kenneth Achabo, presented a report on audited accounts of the 23 local councils from 2015 to 2019.
Ortom described the report as a novel initiative and stressed the need for those in positions of trust to keep financial records straight, to support auditors with facts and figures to do their job.
Buhari Departs Abuja For Investment Summit In Riyadh
President Muhammadu Buhari has departed Abuja for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the investment conference organised by the Future Investment Initiative Institute.
The presidential aircraft conveying the president and few members of his entourage took-off from the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at about 4.10 p.m.
A statement issued by Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesman, on Monday said the president would be joined at the 5th edition of the flagship investment event by business executives from Nigeria, bankers, captains of industry and energy experts to discuss issues on the future of investments across the globe.
He said: ”The three-day event, with the theme, Investment in Humanity, which will host global executives and asset managers, will deliberate on progress and prosperity with energy; true final frontiers in investments; science in action; and impact of climate change on communities among others.”
According to Shehu, the president will perform the lesser Hajj in Madinah and Makkah before returning to the country on Friday.
Those accompaning the president on the trip include the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Minister of Communications; Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada.
Others are the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva; Director General of National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai, and Managing Director of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji.
Some of the invitees from the private sector include Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Tope Shonubi, Wale Tinubu, Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu, Hassan Usman, Omoboyode Olusanya, Abubakar Suleiman, Herbert Wigwe, Leo Stan Ekeh, Alan Seinfield and Alhaji Dahiru Mangal.
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