…adjourns till September 14, 2021
The Senate on Thursday finally passed the long awaited Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The upper chamber during a clause-by-clause consideration of the bill approved electronic transmission of results during elections, provided that such areas are adjudged by the National Communications Commission to be adequately covered under its national coverage and approved by the National Assembly.
The approval came following an amendment to Clause 52(3) by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North) during consideration of a report by the Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The amendment was seconded by Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno North).
The Committee in its recommendation initially prescribed that, “The Commission (INEC) may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable.”
This, however, was amended by the Deputy Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi to read, “The Commission may consider electronic transmission of results, provided the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the National Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.”
Senators Sabi Abdullahi and Ali Ndume argued that the blanket recommendation by the Committee for electronic transmission of results in all parts of the country would deprive some Nigerians resident in areas with weak or without network coverage from participating in the electoral process.
According to the lawmakers, in order to ensure fairness and inclusiveness for the electorates, particularly in rural areas, an all inclusive provision must be accommodated in the Electoral Act to protect their participation and votes during elections.
Sabi Abdullahi’s amendment received a favorable ruling by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, when subjected to a voice vote.
However, lawmakers such as Enyinnaya Abaribe, Thompson Sekibo and Albert Bassey Akpan, who belong to the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) disagreed with Senators Sabi Abdullahi and Ndume, insisting that the previous recommendation be retained.
Bassey’s counter amendment, which insisted for retention of the Committee’s recommendation as captured in clause 52 sub-clause 3, nevertheless suffered rejection when put to a voice vote by the Senate President.
Apparently determined to have their way, the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, while citing order 73 of the Senate Rule, called for a division.
In a bid to avert going down the path of a division, the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North) prevailed on his colleagues in the PDP rescind of their earlier call.
A defiant Abaribe refused all entreaties for him to withdraw the point of order, despite attempts by his colleagues to sway members of the minority party during a closed session that followed and lasted almost 20 minutes.
Rising from the closed session, Abaribe demanded that the contentious clause be revisited despite a couple of further appeal by the Senate President for the upper chamber to continue with the consideration of the report.
Sensing the Minority Leader’s refusal to shift grounds, the Senate President in an unexpected move took Abaribe by surprise and approved the request for division amidst called for voting on the amendment put forward by Senator Bassey.
Out of a total of 80 Senators present, 52 voted for the retention of the ‘Sabi Abdullahi Amendment’, while 28 who belonged to the opposition PDP voted for the ‘Bassey Amendment’.
The other 28 Senators that make up the 108 in the upper chamber, excluding the Senate President, were absent during plenary.
After the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Senate President, in his remarks said, “We have achieved what we have set for ourselves because of our commitment.
“We would all recall that at the beginning of the Ninth Senate, we resolved to have a legislative agenda.
“[And] in out legislative agenda, the Petroleum Industry Bill and amendment of the Electoral Act 2010, are pillars of what we have set for ourselves to do.
“Today, we have achieved those two issues.
“Secondly, the Electoral Act amendment, we have gone through a serious and probably torturous process to reach where we have by passing it.
“There was no victor, no vanquished in this affair. Everyone did what he or she did for the full commitment and realization that what we want is one and the same thing, but the path we have taken are different.
“We want an electronic transmission system for our electoral process, however, we want to ensure that no Nigerian is disenfranchised in this process, and time will definitely come when all part of Nigeria will have the coverage that we all need to deploy our technology to ensure electronic transmission of election results.
“This has come to settle the issue of what INEC can do and what INEC cannot. We have given INEC an electoral Act amended to enhance its performance.”
The Senate after the passage of the bill, adopted the Votes and Proceedings and adjourned till 14th of September, 2021 for its annual recess.
Senate stops El-Rufai, 2 Others Confirms Wike, Keyamo, Oyetola, Others As Ministers
The Senate has put the confirmation of former Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai on hold and confirmed 45 ministerial nominees presented to it for screening and confirmation by President Bola Tinubu.
Two others affected are Stella Okotete (Delta State), and Abubakar Danladi (Taraba State). The Senate said the trio were still undergoing security clearance.
The Senate had spent a week in screening all the ministerial nominees presented to it by the president.
Those confirmed are:
Abubakar Kyari (Borno)
Abubakar Momoh (Edo)
Nyesom Wike – Rivers
Engr Joseph Utserv (Benue)
Senator John Owan Enoh (Cross River)
Hon Bello Mohammad (Sokoto)
Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa)
Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar (Bauchi)
Uju Kennedy Ohaneye (Anambra)
Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (Ondo)
Nkieruka Onyejeocha (Abia)
Dr Betta Edu (Cross River State)
imaan Sulieman Ibrahim (Nasarawa)
David Umahi (Ebonyi)
Adebayo Olawale Edun (Ogun)
Arch. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa (Katsina)
Chief Uche Geoffrey Nnaji (Enugu)
Mr Dele Alake (Ekiti)
Waheed Adebayo Adelabu (Oyo)
Mohammed Idris (Niger)
Prof Ali Pate (Bauchi)
Dr Doris Anite Uzoka (Imo)
Lateef Fabemi SAN (Kwara)
Rt Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo (Akwa Ibom)
Hannatu Musawa (Katsina)
Ibrahim Geidam (Yobe)
Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger)
Hieneken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa)
Alkali Ahmed Saidu (Gombe)
Dr Tanko Sununu (Kebbi)
Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi)
Bello Matawalle (Zamfara)
Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun)
Simon Bako Lalong (Plateau)
Abdullahi Tijani Muhammad Gwarzo (Kano)
Bosun Tijani (Ogun)
Dr Mariya Mahmoud Bunkure (Kano)
Dr Iziaq Salako (Ogun)
Dr Tunji Alausa (Lagos)
Lola Ade-John (Lagos)
Prof Tahir Mamman SAN (Adamawa)
Zephaniah Jisalo (FCT)
Uba Maigari Ahmadu (Taraba)
Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu (Kogi)
Festus Keyamo SAN (Delta)
INFLATION: Strike Action Imminent in Nigeria Office of ICRC Over Poor Staff Remuneration.
There are indications that workers of International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) will down tools for the first time since coming to Nigeria over the recent increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which has brought inflation and economic hardship to medium income earners in Nigeria and neighboring countries. The Authority Newspapers Reports.
This is as Nigeria’s current cost of living is on the increase and the failure of the management of ICRC Nigeria to address the situation.
Findings showed that the trouble started earlier this year, when the organization announced a global funding gap that led to the downsizing of its operations.
Investigation revealed that the situation resulted in a significant reduction of staff and the scaling back of ICRC’s operations.
In March, the Nigeria management made a controversial decision to suddenly remove the Cost of Living Allowance, intended to help the staff cope with the country’s soaring inflation.
“Shockingly, the allowance was canceled for Nigerian staff but was retained for expatriate employees” a source in the intervention agency hinted.
The source who does not want her name mentioned said the situation ignited outraged by the Nigerian staff, which voiced their concerns, eventually leading to the restoration of the allowance. But the divide between expatriate and Nigerian salaries remained a significant point of contention.
According to the source, “Recently, following the unification of the exchange rate and removal of fuel subsidies, Nigerian staff raised a compelling argument. They pointed out that the value of their salaries’ had eroded significantly (up to -76%), while expatriate counterparts enjoyed a substantial increase (+76%) when converted to the local currency.
“To break this down further, the ICRC mission in Nigeria receives the funds for its operations in CHF (Swiss Francs). Expat staff in Nigeria are paid in CHF but the Nigerian staff are paid in NGN. CHF used to convert to Naira at 1CHF to 509NGN as of June 1, 2023. As of Tuesday 25 July 2023, 1CHF exchanged for 913NGN.
“What this means for ICRC’s expatriate staff in Nigeria who get their salaries in CHF is that the value of their salaries in NGN has almost doubled.
“The value of the salaries of the Nigerian staff has been halved because their salaries are pegged at the numerical value of the NGN, independent of the exchange rate. This also means that as of today, when the salaries for Nigerian staff are converted to Naira, the ICRC is making a significant savings on their salaries.
“How are staff of a global humanitarian organisation expected to selflessly carry out their duties if they can barely pay their bills?”
Tinubu dissolves Boards of FG parastatals, agencies, institutions, companies
President Bola Tinubu has dissolved the Governing Boards of all Federal Government Parastatals, Agencies, Institutions, and Government-Owned Companies.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Senator George Akume who disclosed this in a late Monday statement said the action was an exercise of the president’s “Constitutional Powers and in the Public interest”.
He said the dissolution does not, however, affect Boards, Commissions and Councils listed in the Third Schedule, Part 1, Section 153 (i) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“In view of this development and until such a time new boards are constituted, the Chief Executive Officers of the Parastatals, Agencies, Institutions, and Government-Owned Companies are directed to refer matters requiring the attention of their Boards to the President, through the Permanent Secretaries of their respective supervisory Ministries and Offices.
“Permanent Secretaries are directed, also, to route such correspondences to Mr President through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Consequently, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies are to ensure compliance to the provision of this directive which took effect from Friday 16th June, 2023.
“Permanent Secretaries are particularly directed to inform the Chief Executive Officers of the affected Agencies under the supervision of their respective Ministries/Offices for immediate compliance”, Akume stated.
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