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Diaspora Voting Is Our Wish – Lawan



Senate President Ahmad Lawan
Senate President Ahmad Lawan

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has said that it is the wish of the National Assembly that Nigerians in diaspora are able to exercise voting right in time of elections in Nigeria.

Lawan made this known when the Chairman of Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the Senate President’s office on Wednesday.

“I beleive that at one point, I don’t know when and how far it will take us before we could start diaspora voting. But one thing I can assure you is that National Assembly is doing everything, particularly this 9th National Assembly is doing everything possible to ensure that our electoral processes and procedures are fully supported to make them have more transparency and integrity, and that is what we want to achieve at home.

“We are simultaneously working to ensure that Nigerians outside of Nigerians are able to vote and have their votes count.

“It is very important we get the electoral process right. We have passed the electoral Act(Amendment) bill, we are now at the verge of having a harmonisation of the two versions of what passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“I believed that at the end of the day the National Assembly will send to the Mr. President a very good electoral Act amendment that will change for the better the electoral environment in this country.

“And of course, Diaspora voting is a wish for all of us, and when we reach there, we must ensure that every part of our diaspora community in every part of the world is given the opportunity to participate.

“And we have to make sure it is foolproof so as not to create another avenue for merchants of rigging to go and perfect their acts of rigging.

“We have to provide the opportunity but it has to be foolproof and all encompassing, giving everyone outside of Nigeria who wishes to be part of election process to participate,” Lawan said.

Lawan urged the Commission to work in synergy with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the implementation of the National Diaspora Policy recently ratified by the Federal Executive Council.

“So you need to put the two institutions together in order to see how you can work in such a manner that what you do and what the foreign affairs ministry does are always in tandem and collaboration to bring the best we expect from the two agencies,” the Senate President said.

Lawan said iNigeria had a duty to protect its citizens wherever they are in the world.

Also speaking in similar vein, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege who is the Chairman of the Senate adhoc Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution said his committee was not opposed to diaspora voting.

“At some point, we will have all Nigerians cast their votes irrespective of where they are domiciled.

“But the position that we have taken for now, while we support that, a proper modality needs to be put in place.

“We thought the best way around it at this time is to liaise with INEC to come up with a proper framework for us to include in the exercise and I have the privilege to share that with the Chairman of NIDCOM,” Omo-Agege said.

Earlier, Dabiri-Erewa said the visit was mainly to present to the Senate President a publication titled “+600 Diaspora Icons,” a compendium of stories on more than 600 Nigerians in diaspora who have glass shattering records.

“We know that we have negative stories about our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora but we have more of positive than negative. All we need is a more intensive engagement,” Dabiri-Erewa said.

She noted that the request for diaspora voting is a gradual process that could be achieved in the near future.

“We are not saying diaspora Voting should be done tomorrow,” she said.



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I made mistake in picking Atiku as my Running Mate in 1999 – Obasanjo laments



Former President Olusegun Obasanjo


Ex-President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has disclosed that when he served as a head of state in 1999 as a civilian, he had made a mistake picking his vice.

Obasanjo made this statement while fielding questions from secondary school students at a program at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Obasanjo admitted to making many “genuine mistakes” in his life while interacting with the students, but claimed that God helped him overcome them.

“Choosing my number two when I wanted to be president was one of the errors I made. But God saved me because it was an honest mistake, said Obasanjo.

Obasanjo while interacting with the students revealed that he had made many “genuine mistakes” in his life; saying, however, that God made him overcome them.

“One of the mistakes I made was picking my number two when I wanted to become the president. But because it was a genuine mistake, God saved me,” Obasanjo said.
According to reports, Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential contender, served as Obasanjo’s second-in-command from 1999 to 2007.

Obasanjo and Atiku clashed with one and other for years while in government over matters they couldn’t agree on.

When discussing his second error, Obasanjo claimed that it occurred when General Sani Abacha, a late military ruler, was going to arrest him and the American Embassy offered him asylum which he refused.

Obasanjo claimed that had God not intervened, he would have perished during his time in prison.

“When Abacha wanted to arrest me, I was told by the American ambassador that they will arrest me and that America has asked that I should be given an asylum. I said no. It could have been a mistake because I could have lost my life.”

The Balogun Owu stated that God had saved him from many things that could have been a mistake.

When asked whether the youths could be allowed to rule the nation, Obasanjo expressed worries, stating that youths may never come into power should the current trend in Nigeria continues.

The former president regretted that in spite of the “Not Too Young to Run” campaign, people contesting to rule the nation are between 70 and 80 years old.

“How can the youths run,” he asked, adding that the amount of money involved in going into politics would not allow youths to get to leadership positions.

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu

No fewer than 5000 Lagosians are to be enrolled in the Ilera Eko Social Health Plan – courtesy of the Lagos State Executive Council.

The gesture is to celebrate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s 57th birthday on June 25 and in the spirit of his compassion for the indigent and vulnerable.

Beneficiaries will have access to quality health care services and drugs under the ILERA EKO Standard Plan at no cost to them.

Nominees will be selected from the Lagos State Social Protection Register. An equal number of the 5000 eligible beneficiaries are to be selected from the five IBILE divisions of the State and will enjoy Universal Health Coverage.

These beneficiaries have been identified using a multi-dimensional poverty index tool, which includes the poverty means-testing to ensure accuracy, reliability and validity of the data generated.

ILERA EKO is the State Social Health Insurance Plan managed by Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), which offers the basic minimum health plan that provides quality and affordable healthcare for all Lagos residents, especially the middle and low-income earners as well as the vulnerable.

Services on the Plan include: General consultations; Specialist Consultations; Management of uncomplicated chronic diseases (Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma); Maternal and Newborn Care; Normal Delivery and Caesarean Section; Dental Care (with Composite filling) and Eye Care, including glasses.

There are also minor and major surgeries; laboratory tests and scans; HIV/TB Testing services; Emergency Health Services; Cancer Care and the provision of prescribed drugs.

A policy cycle under the ILERA EKO Health Insurance Plan runs for 12 calendar months in which an enrolee’s policy is due for renewal before the 25th day of the 12th month to enable such subscribers have access to care the next month (Start of renewed policy cycle).

The selected beneficiaries will commence access to care from July 1, 2022.

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Wife remanded as UK Court denies them bail



Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife


An Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom did not grant bail to Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President, and Beatrice, his wife, who were apprehended over attempted harvesting of organs.

It was gathered that the Nigerian couple was detained by the Metropolitan Police when they tried harvesting an unnamed child’s organs.

When the Senator was arraigned on Thursday, the court refused to grant him bail but ordered that he should be remanded till July 7

The Metropolitan Police while confirming the arrest said in a statement that the pair were charged to court on Thursday following an investigation by the police’ specialist crime team.

“Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting,” the statement read.

“Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

They have both been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court later today.

“A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support.”

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