Connect with us


Electoral bill: National Assembly carpets AGF over ‘self-interest’ comment



The National Assembly, on Thursday, dismissed a threat by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), that he would oppose the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, if it was based on selfish interest.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, specifically dismissed Malami as a political appointee, who could not speak for the President Muhammadu Buhari on institutional matters like the bill.

Basiru was reacting to a recent interview granted by Malami in which the minister said Buhari would not assent to the reworked bill, if its provisions were considered to be of selfish interest.

The AGF had hinted that Buhari might withhold assent from the bill, if it was considered to have proposed laws based on personal interests.

According to the minister, the bill, which the National Assembly transmitted to the Presidency the second time on Monday last week, just got to him on Monday for legal advice.

When asked if he would advise the President to reject the amended bill if he was not satisfied with the new version, Malami said, “Certainly, if I am not satisfied and if I am of the opinion that it is against the public interest, the national interest; and then against the dictates of democratic process, I would advise accordingly.

“But then, one thing I can tell you is that we are all interested in leaving behind a legacy of a lasting democracy; a democracy that indeed accommodates the collective interest of the Nigerian state, and eventually advances the national interest, national development and deepens the democratic process.

“So, with these considerations associated with deepening democracy; with the considerations associated with the national and public interest, we will certainly do whatever it takes to move democracy to the next level.”

Responding in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, Basiru said, “I cannot be responding to Malami. Let the President talk and we will respond (to Buhari). I represent an institution, which is the National Assembly. We are not on the same par. If the President speaks, then we can respond as an institution.

“There are three arms of government: the executive headed by the President; the National Assembly (legislature), and the judiciary. I speak on behalf of the Senate, which is an institution, so I can’t be responding to an appointee of the President; I can’t be responding to Malami. We can only respond to correspondence from the President and authenticated by him (Buhari); we cannot be responding to an appointee of the President. We are an institution.”

Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, in his response, said the minister might need to define what he meant by ‘selfish interest’. According to him, the parliament was guided by national interest in the consideration and passage of the bill.

Kalu said, “I don’t know his definition of ‘selfish interest’, of course, it is not a tool in making laws for the country. But public interest is the instrument used in making laws, not selfish interest. And the only way that you can measure public interest is through the steps outlined by our laws, one of which is public hearing or stakeholders’ engagement.

“Another one is consensus or majority opinion of the parliament on an issue, reflective of the opinion of the people that they (lawmakers) represent. If the majority of those in the parliament are for a particular position, it means that those who have asked them (lawmakers) to represent them are speaking with one voice. That is how you measure public interest.”

The House’ spokesman also stated that the opinions and interests of the Independent National Electoral Commission, political parties, governors, civil society organisations and other public stakeholders in the bill could not have been considered to be selfish.

A senior official in the National Assembly, who spoke on condition of anonymity, corroborated the Senate’s spokesman, saying, “If he, as an appointee of the President, made an observation, until that observation is formalised by the institution that he represents, which is the Presidency, we cannot give much attention to it until it comes from the institution.”

The source added, “If Mr. President finds out that there is an element of selfish interest, he will communicate that to us and we will look at it. Not that Malami will tell us, the President will communicate directly to us.”

In December the President had rejected the last electoral bill mainly on the advice of Malami.

Recently, there were reports that some members of the cabal in the Presidency were opposed to some provisions of the bill.

According to the reports, they are not comfortable with the provision which mandates appointees to resign before the primaries of their parties.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives had reworked the electoral bill for the second time by concurring on consensus candidacy and setting fresh conditions for political parties in the nomination of candidates for elections.

Buhari, last year, had vetoed the electoral bill and sent it back to the National Assembly over the restriction of political parties to direct primary, insisting on the direct or indirect.

The House had amended Clause Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010, which is Clause 84 of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, by inserting the indirect primary option.

The Senate, however, not only added indirect primary, but also consensus adoption of candidates for elections by a political party.

By passing different amendments to the bill, the Senate and the House were expected to refer the versions to a conference committee to harmonise the differences and report back for final passage and transmission to the President for assent.

However, both the Senate and the House of Representatives took a shorter route by rescinding their decisions on the amendments last week and re-amending the electoral bill.

This time, the House concurred with the Senate on the consensus, while both chambers passed the same conditions set for the option.

The President had said in his interview with Channels TV on January 5, 2022, that he would sign the bill once the mandatory direct primary clause was removed.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


2023: Buhari may meet Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi, others



President Muhammadu Buhari would this week meet with all the preidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting was called with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.

“The President will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping,” said an APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous.

“The President has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge,” he added.

Buhari’s most senior spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had said last week that the President indeed had a preferred candidate.

He stated, “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.

“That shows you that the President himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate; but whether he will impose his candidate is what you cannot determine at the moment.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he was not aware of any meeting the President would be having with the aspirants.

“I am not aware of any meeting as of now,” he said.

Continue Reading


Gunmen behead abducted Anambra lawmaker from Governor Soludo’s constituency, hang head in motor park



Gunmen who abducted a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Okey Okoye, have beheaded him.

After beheading him, his head was reportedly displayed at a motor park in Nnobi, Idemili South Local Government Area of the state.

The incident, which happened on Saturday, created panic in the community, which had been witnessing a series of violent killings since last year.

Sources added that his body was not there and indications were that the killers removed the body.

“The Anambra lawmaker representing Soludo’s constituency, Okechukwu Okoye who was earlier kidnapped, has been beheaded by gunmen; the late lawmaker’s head was mounted at Chisco Park in Amichi community,” a military source said on Saturday.

Gunmen had last Sunday abducted the lawmaker who was representing Aguata II state constituency in Aguata alongside Cyril Chiegboka, his campaign director.

Governor Charles Soludo had said during the week that efforts were ongoing to rescue the Anambra lawmaker from his abductors.

Continue Reading


MC Oluomo allegedly demands N100million to support re-election of Oshodi Rep member



Chairman of the Lagos State Parks Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly called MC Oluomo, is allegedly demanding N100 million to support the re-election of the member representing Oshodi Federal Constituency 1 in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bashiru Dawodu.

Dawodu, a medical doctor, rode on the back of MC Oluomo to win the election in 2019 after series of attempts in the past.

Dawodu presenting his Certificate of Return to MC Oluomo

Both, however, fell apart few months after Dawodu was elected due to irreconcilable differences .

MC Oluomo is said to be angry with Dawodu for not honouring agreements he (Dawodu) had with him prior to his victory in 2019.

MC Oluomo, who is seen as de-facto leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oshodi was said to have vowed to work against Dawodu’s re-election in 2023.

He is believed to be working for the emergence of a former Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government, Afeez Ipesa Balogun to emerge as the APC’s candidate for the House of Representatives election in the constituency.

However, party leaders in the local government including the Chairman of the council, Kehinde Oloyede Almoof had appealed to MC Oluomo to tone down his opposition to Dawodu and support his re-election.

It was gathered that MC Oluomo did not turn down the fence-mending approach because he said he did the same with Oloyede who was his former arch-enemy.

It was further gathered that MC Oluomo demanded N100 million from Dawodu before he gets his support.

The money according to MC Oluomo is to settle his aides and loyalists, who supported Dawodu in 2019 but were abandoned by the Rep member.

According to sources at the various fence-mending meeting, appeals to MC Oluomo to reduce the amount were rebuffed.

Another dimension has, however, been added to the involvement of Oloyede in the matter.

The sources revealed that the council chairman, Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own interest.

Oloyede has been eyeing the Rep seat before his election as the council chairman.

Oloyede’s calculation according to the sources is that should Dawood gets the second term, it would be easy for him (Oloyede) to contest for the seat in 2027.

One of the sources who does not want his name in print because of backlash said : “Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own personal interest. He believes supporting Dawood may work for him in 2027.

Continuing, the source noted that Oloyede would rather support Dawodu over any other candidates because others eyeing the seat are first timers, who may want to seek for re-election in 2027.

Continue Reading

Latest News