An end to the persistent feud between the presidency and the National Assembly appears to be around the corner with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the lawmakers setting up an 11-man inner caucus standing committee to deal with all such issues.
The caucus comprises President Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President Bukola Saraki; House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara; Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha; Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan; and House of Representatives Majority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila.
The rest are APC National Chairman , Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Deputy National Chairman (North), Alhaji Lawan Shuaibu; Deputy National Chairman (South), Engr. Segun Oni; and the National Secretary, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni, The Nation gathered last night.
The committee is expected to be a proactive type and is charged with the responsibility of curbing friction between the two arms of government.
It was learnt that the committee will be meeting from time to time on government policies, plans, bills, emerging issues likely to cause conflict, appointments for ratification and reservations by both arms, especially the National Assembly.
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Although the new plan is yet to be submitted to President Buhari, the party is confident that the presidency and the National Assembly will come to a “compromise” on the proposal.
The establishment of an inner caucus committee was the major highlight of Wednesday’s closed-door session between the APC leadership and the party’s caucus in the Senate.
Sources close to the meeting said APC Senators protested alleged unfair treatment by the presidency and the party leadership.
Oyegun was said to have “managed the tension-soaked session.”
The Senators recommended the adoption of the inner caucus approach practised by the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in the Second Republic.
It is to bridge the communication gap among the Presidency, National Assembly and APC leadership.
One of the sources said: “We resolved to set up an inner caucus committee with membership drawn from the Presidency, National Assembly and APC.
“It will be a standing committee not only for the resolution of the present crisis of confidence between the two arms, but to reunite and stabilize their relationship.
“The 11-man caucus, which will be meeting regularly, comprises three representatives from the Presidency, four from the National Assembly and four from the APC.
Another well-placed source said: “We want to return to the model used by the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN), the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), the Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP), the former Social Democratic Party (SDP) and even the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Director General of Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, yesterday revealed the process that culminated in the release of 105 of the 111 girls abducted from a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State on February 19, describing it as complicated and painstaking.
Daura, who spoke when President Muhammadu Buhari received the released girls at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja also disclosed that six of the abducted girls were yet to be accounted for.
According to him, two pupils of Dapchi primary school were also released with the 105 secondary school girls on Wednesday.
Daura, who formally presented the released girls to President Buhari, said: “I wish to inform Mr. President that I05 out of 111 female students abducted from the Government Girls’ Science Technical College, Dapchi on 19 February, 2018 were released two days ago, following painstaking backchannel dialogue with their abductors.
“However, before you today, Mr. President, are two additional young primary school pupils, namely Hafsat Haruna, an 11-year-old primary six pupil, and Mala Maina Bukar, 13 years old and also a primary six pupil.
“The remaining six Dapchi girls are yet to be accounted for, and dialogue on these students is still ongoing.”
Recalling the negotiation process that led to their release, he said: “It may be recalled that the President had given a clear directive to security agencies to use peaceful options to ensure the timely and safe release of the girls.
“What followed were intense behind-the-scene dialogue spearheaded by the Department of State Services.
“The insurgents’ only condition was their demands for cessation of hostilities and temporary ceasefire to enable them return the girls at the point they picked them.
“They required assurances that the government security forces would keep to this.
“The exercise was arduous and quite challenging. The sensitivity of the operation and some uncertainties surrounding it, particularly the routes to be used, nature of transportation, realization and concern that the girls were not kept at one place, issues of encountering military checkpoints within the theater and indeed keeping the operation on strictly the “principles of need-to-know” made the whole exercise more complicating.
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has prayed that God might ensure the safe return of the lone Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, remaining in the captivity of Boko Haram.
The terror sect refused to release Leah, a Christian, with other abductees on Wednesday because she would not renounce Jesus Christ and her religion.
Adeboye, in a tweet on his official handle, prayed that the Lord should ”visit the camp of the captors and “in a way that You alone can, see to the safe release and return of the missing girl, Leah Sharibu, in Jesus name.”
In another tweet, he said: “Isaiah 49:25: But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.”
On his part, the Catholic Bishop of Oyo, Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to facilitate Leah’s release.
”The biggest litmus test for President Buhari and the APC government in this Dapchi girls saga is the case of Leah Sharibu, the only kidnapped Dapchi girl yet to be released by Boko Haram,” Badejo told reporters.
”Leah, on the evidence of her colleagues, was not freed because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.
“Anyone who thinks this is just a Christian problem will be making a big mistake,” he said.
“No amount of accolades will suffice to congratulate the girl and her parents who nurtured her to be that strong in her faith as to demonstrate such courage.”
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has been urged by the apex socio-cultural and political organisation of the Ogoni ethnic group, KAGOTE, to intervene in the feud between the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, and the lawmaker representing Rivers Southeast Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Abe, ahead of 2019 elections.
President of KAGOTE, Peter Medee, of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), disclosed in an exclusive interview yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, that besides seeking President Buhari’s intervention, letters were also sent to Amaechi and Rivers governor, Nyesom Wike. Wike allegedly granted the request for a courtesy visit, and approved the upgrade of state-owned Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori-Ogoni, to the University of Environment. Medee disclosed that KAGOTE’s request to pay Buhari a courtesy visit has been delivered in Abuja by a prominent Ogoni leader, although no date has been fixed for the visit.
The group, however, wishes to meet President Buhari before the governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to ensure peace in Rivers State and put an end to the face-off between Amaechi and Abe. The group’s acronym, KAGOTE, derives from the four Local Government Areas (LGA) in Ogoni: Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme; KAGOTE was founded in 1947 when Ogoni’s separate administrative division was created from Opobo. It gave birth in 1990, to the umbrella organisation of Ogoni people, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), which was formed to carry out the objectives in the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR), adopted on August 26, 1990 by Ogoni people at Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoniland.
The transportation minister, Amaechi, who hails from Ubima in Ikwerre LGA of Rivers state, is a former governor of the state (2007-2015) and an ex- Speaker of the Rivers House of Assembly (1999-2007), while Abe, a former Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG), when Amaechi was governor, is an indigene of Bera-Ogoni in Gokana LGA. Wike, a former Minister of State for Education and ex-Chief of Staff to Amaechi, hails from Rumueprikom- Port Harcourt in Obio/Akpor LGA of the state and he is seeking reelection in 2019 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Abe, a governorship aspirant of the APC in 2015, wishes to take over from Wike on May 29 next year, on APC’s platform.
Amaechi is pushing for a riverine person as the governorship candidate of the APC in 2019, since upland persons had been governor since 1999 (Dr. Peter Odili, Sir Celestine Omehia, Amaechi and Wike), while Ogoni leaders are insisting that since the creation of Rivers state on May 27, 1967, no Ogoni person has become governor, deputy governor, speaker of the House of Assembly or chief judge of the state. According to them, this injustice and marginalisation of the area rich in crude oil and gas must now be addressed.
AFederal High Court in Abuja has freed Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court from his trial on corruption charges.Justice John Tsoho, in a ruling, relied on the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court, and held that the prosecution in the Justice Ngwuta case failed to comply with the condition precedent before bringing charges against a judicial officer.Justice Tsoho said it was difficult to distinguish which of the offences alleged a
FORMER President, Goodluck Jonathan, South-South governors and other Niger Delta leaders will lead a mega rally today, to support the call for restructuring.
The rally, tagged: “Restructuring the Nigerian Federation,” is organised by Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and it is scheduled to hold in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital. It was learnt that PANDEF would insist that the country should be restructured before the 2019 general election. A statement signed by Chairman Publicity, of the rally, Thompson Okorotie, disclosed that prominent leaders of the region including Chief A.K. Horsfall and His Eminence, King Edmund Daukoru, the Amayanabo of Nembe, would lead the rally.
Okorotie also said former President Jonathan, the six South-South governors and all former governors of the region, incumbent and former ministers, chairmen and members of boards and parastatals, would grace the occasion. Others participants include current and former legislators representing the region at Federal and State levels. Okorotie’s statement also urged Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Arewa Consultative Assembly, Middle Belt Forum, the clergy, traditional rulers, and elders across the nation, youth, women groups and the general public to attend the South-South rally.
He said: “The governors, former president Jonathan, PANDEF leader, Chief Edwin Clark, some eminent Nigerians and leaders of ethnic nationalities, civil society groups are expected to deliver speeches at the rally. “Fellow Nigerians; let’s restructure now, tomorrow may be too late. A restructured Nigeria will guarantee a free, fair, egalitarian, united, peaceful and prosperous nation where everybody, irrespective of region, religion, creed and status will be happy.
“We intend to use the rally to rally support for the restructuring of Nigeria. The 2019 general election is a referendum on restructuring. “We the people of Niger Delta/ South-South want the Nigerian federation to be restructured to enthrone true federalism before the 2019 general election, and it is doable, all that is required is a political will on the part of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
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