*Political parties must follow the law or miss out in elections – Lawan
The Senate on Tuesday re-amended for a second time, the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, 2022, to include provisions which clearly define the mode of primaries for political parties.
The re-amendment was sequel to a motion on “rescission on clause 84 of the Electoral Act No. 26 2010 (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and Committal to the Committee of the Whole.”
The motion was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North).
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, after the amendment to the electoral bill by the Committee of the Whole, said the re-amendment was done to harmonize its position with that of the House of Representatives.
He added that amendment accommodate clearly define provisions for the mode of primaries.
Lawan expressed optimism that the bill would be signed into law when transmitted by the National Assembly to the President for his assent.
He warned that political parties that fail or refuse to abide with the provisions on the mode of primaries, would miss out on the opportunity to participate during elections.
He said, “On the mode of conducting primaries by parties to produce candidates, we have concluded our task on the amendment to the Electoral Act No. 6 2010 Bill.
“You would recalled that the Senate and the House passed the Electoral Act amendment Bill with slight difference.
“While the House passed the mode of primaries to be direct and indirect only, the Senate passed the mode of primaries to be direct, indirect and consensus.
“What we have done is to give very clear and sufficient definition to each mode of primaries.
“The direct primaries is well define on how it will be conducted; ditto the Indirect primaries. And for the consensus, the two chambers have produced in this Bill, very clear definition of how a consensus candidate would emerge.
“Therefore, we are very glad that we have been able to achieve this consensus between the two chambers to arrive at this harmonized version, and we are also very optimistic that Mr. President will sign the bill.
“Our desire is to ensure that we reform the electoral processes in Nigeria for better transparency, accountability and Integrity to the satisfaction of Nigerians and the international community.
“Political parties, when this is signed into law, will have the responsibility of ensuring that they follow the law, otherwise they will end up missing the opportunity to participate in elections.”
The amended bill provides in clause 84 (2) that, “The procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions shall be by direct, indirect primaries or Consensus.”
It added in 84(3) that “a political party shall not impose nomination qualification or disqualification criteria, measures, or conditions on any aspirant or candidate for any election in its constitution, guidelines, or rules for nomination of candidates for elections, except as prescribed under sections 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 177 and 187 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”
On Direct Primaries in 84 (4), the amended version provides that, “A political party that adopts the direct primaries procedure shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party and shall adopt the procedure outlined below:
“(a) In the case of Presidential Primaries, all registered members of the party shall vote for aspirants of their choice at a designated centre at each ward of the Federation.
“(b) The procedure in paragraph (a) above of this subsection shall be adopted for direct primaries in respect of Gubernatorial, Senatorial, Federal and State Constituencies.
“(c) Special Conventions or Congresses shall be held to ratify the candidate with the highest number of votes at designated centres at the National, State, Senatorial, Federal and State Constituencies, as the case may be.”
On Indirect Primaries, the bill provides under 84(5) that, “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall adopt the procedure outlined below:
“(a) In the case of nominations to the position of Presidential candidate, the political party shall – (i) hold a Special Presidential Convention at a designated centre in the Federal Capital Territory or any other place within the Federation that is agreed to by the National Executive Committee of the party where delegates shall vote for aspirants of their choice.
“(ii) the aspirant with the highest number of votes cast at the end of voting shall be declared the winner of the Presidential primaries of the political party and that aspirant’s name shall be forwarded to the Commission as the candidate of the party.”
It further provides under 84(7) that, “Where there is only one aspirant or a consensus candidate in a political party for any of the elective positions mentioned in subsection (5)(a), (b), (c) and (d), the party shall convene a special convention or congress at a designated Centre on a specified date for the confirmation of such aspirant and the name of the aspirant shall be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the party.”
The Electoral Bill provides in 84(8) that, “A political party that adopts the system of indirect primaries for the choice of its candidate shall clearly outline in its constitution and rule the procedure for the democratic election of delegates to vote at the convention, congress meeting.”
On Consensus Candidate the bill in 84(9)(a) provides, “A political party that adopts a consensus candidate shall secure the written consent of all cleared aspirants for the position, indicating their voluntary withdrawal from the race and their endorsement of the consensus candidate.”
It goes further in paragraph (b) that, “Where a political party is unable to secure the written consent of all cleared aspirants for the purpose of a consensus candidate, it shall revert to the choice of direct or indirect primaries for the nomination of candidates for the aforesaid elective positions.”
The bill states in paragraph (c) that, “A Special Convention or nomination Congress shall be held to ratify the choice of consensus candidates at designated centres at the National, State, Senatorial, Federal and State Constituencies, as the case may be.”
Tinubu Presents His First Budget As President On Wednesday
President Bola Tinubu will present the 2024 budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday.
This is according to a memo dated November 27, 2023, signed by the federal legislature’s Secretary of Human Resources and Staff Development, Shuaibu Maina Birma, on behalf of the Clerk to the National Assembly.
“I am directed to inform you that the 2024 Budget would be presented by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the Joint Session of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 29th November, 2023,” it read.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council has approved a 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion.
This followed the review of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework earlier passed by the National Assembly which benchmarked the exchange rate at N700 to $1 and crude oil price at $73.96 cent per barrel.
Briefing State House Correspondents shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, said it revised the MTEF and the Fiscal Policy to use an exchange rate of N750 to $1 and also a benchmark crude oil reference price of $77.96 per barrel.
According to Bagudu, the FEC also approved an Appropriation Bill for 2024 with an aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion, an increase of over N1.5 trillion from the previously estimated.
He also noted that using the old reference prices, the forecast revenue is now N18.2 trillion which is higher than the 2023 revenue, including that provided in the two supplementary budgets, in which the deficit is lower than that of 2023.
Senate Seeks Nigeria’s Inclusion In $147billion Global Bitumen Market
…passes Bitmen Development Commission Bill for second reading
The Senate Thursday made legislative move of including Nigeria in the $147billion global bitumen market with passage for second reading , a bill seeking for establishment of Bitumen Development Commission .
Nigeria as stated in the bill sponsored by Senator Jimoh Ibrahim ( APC Ondo South) , has quantum of 5.9trillion barrels ( 938billion m³) of global in – place Bitumen and heavy oil resources , second to Venezuela .
He specifically informed the Senate that more than 80% of the resources are found in Canada , United States of America , Venezuela and Nigeria .
But lamented that while other countries blessed with the Natural resources are exploiting it through required legislations or legal frameworks , Nigeria’ has no legal framework for such exploration with attendant untapped opportunities and huge market loss .
Therefore according to him, ” the objectives of the Bill includes: the need to develop a legal framework for the regulation of the Bitumen development in Nigeria; to prevent unconventional sources from taking advantage of research-enhanced applications over other competitors; and to lead innovation and resource-based strategy in the development of bitumen in Nigeria.
“The Bill will also ensure effective utilisation of over 38 billion reserve of bitumen in Nigeria; and to promote economic diversification policy of the Federal Government”.
He added that the Bill among other reasons, seeks to restrict the activities of the commission to its regulatory and cordinating functioons , specifically as it relates to the Develooment of Bitumen in Nigeria .
Ondo State alone according to him , has the highest deposit in Africa with an estimated value of $42billion which are aside from depisits in Ogun State , Edo , Lagos and Akwa- Ibom States .
” The proposed Bitumen Development Commission when established , would fastrack the development of Bitumen in Nigeria , make her a key player in the $147billion global market and create instant 12, 000 jobs for Nigerians .
” It would also help Government at various levels to put in place asphalted roads in various communities .
” Out of the 200, 000 kilometres of roads in Nigeria , only 20, 000 are asphalted even with imported Bitumen which is not good and being addressed with the proposed commission” he said .
Many of the Senators who contributed to debate on the bill , concurred with Jimoh Ibrahim’s submissions , making the Senate as put to voice votes by its President , Godswill Akpabio , passed it for second reading .
Akpabio who commended Senator Jimoh Ibrahim for sponsorship of the development – driven bill, mandated the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals to make further legislative inputs on it and report back in a month’s time .
Barau Offsets Postgraduate Student’s Cancer Treatment Bills
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin, has paid the medical and surgery bills of Abdurrabah Idris Yahaya, a 30-year-old Kano State indigene and M.Sc. student who has been battling cancer.
Abdurrabah, a resident of Bankaura/S.Doka area of Ungogo Local Government of Kano State, who had been receiving treatment from home, went viral on social media, seeking assistance following medical doctors’ advice that he undergo surgery.
Worried by Abdurrabah’s situation and the urgency of the doctors’ advice, the Deputy Senate President sent a delegation with the sum of N1.45 million to offset his medical and surgery bills.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Professor Muhammad Ibn Abdullahi, Senator Barau expressed concern over the health condition of the student who is a beneficiary of his Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme.
While urging the patient and his family to remain prayerful, as every illness is the will of Allah, Senator Barau prayed for the quick recovery of the student.
“The Deputy President of the Senate is deeply worried since he heard about the situation of this young, talented man’s health. As such, he sent us the sum of N1,450,000 as required by the doctors for his surgery.
“Strengthen your faith in Almighty God, Abdurrabah will be okay by the grace of Allah,” he said.
He reiterated the commitment of Senator Barau to supporting people in education, health, and other areas for the development of society irrespective of their constituents, region, or state.
While appreciating the Senator, the mother of the patient, Malama Halima Haruna, who could not hold back her tears, said she had no words other than prayers for the Senator.
Speaking on her behalf, Abdurrabah’s elder sister, Nafisa Idris Yahaya, said they had been pleading for support from people, but Senator Barau has, by his financial assistance, wiped away their tears.
“We received the sum of N1,450,000 from the Deputy President of the Senate. In the past, Senator Barau had paid for his scholarship for a master’s degree. Here he is again, assisting our family. We have been looking for where to get money for the surgery, but today is our happiest day. We appreciate him for this. May Almighty Allah reward him abundantly,” she said.
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