Aides to members of the National Assembly yesterday protested their unpaid N9billion duty tour and severance allowances.
No fewer than 3,000 former aides were yesterday represented at the National Assembly.
The Acting Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Ben Efeturi, assured the protesters that everything would be done to address their concerns.
Efeturi said the National Assembly’s management would not unduly cause them pains.
The protesting aides were led to the office of the Acting Clerk by the Chairman of the South-West chapter of National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF), Hon. Al-Maroof Yinka Ajibolu.
According to Ajibolu, the aides were demanding to be paid Duty Tour Allowances (DTA) that have been due since April, last year.
“We had to meet them over our delayed severance benefits and our unpaid DTA”, Ajibolu told The Nation shortly before the peaceful protest march to the Acting Clerk’s office..
He also said the Severance Gratuity Allowance which ought to have been paid immediately after legislators received theirs about two months ago.
Mr. Efeturi, who made futile efforts to reach the National Assembly’s Director of Finance and Accounts, Alhaji Lasisi Bukoye on telephone, gave assurances that he would ensure a meeting between the aggrieved aides’ leaders and Bukoye today.
“They promised to pay the DTA, which ought to have been paid since April after legislators collected theirs but till date, the National Assembly management has kept quiet on the matter, knowing that we would be more focussed on the severance allowance.
“They promised to pay the DTA, which ought to have been paid since April after legislators collected theirs but till date, the National Assembly management has kept quiet on the matter, knowing that we would be more focussed on the severance allowance”
“Also, they ought to have paid us the severance allowance immediately after paying that of legislators but all that we are hearing is that some people are trying to figure out the best way to short-change us and ensure that we do not get our full entitlements.
“Such problems have occurred in the past but this time, we are more than ready for them as we know that President Mohammadu Buhari and Speaker Dogara would bring down the full weight of the law on any of the officials who may be implicated in National Assembly shenanigans,” an aide, who requested anonymity, stated.
On July 24, in response to The Nation’s enquiry, Bukoye blamed the delay in payment on paucity of funds.
The outstanding (DTA) being owed each of the approximately 3, 000 aides is about N75, 000.
Also, in conformity with the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission’s stipulations, each of the five aides serving 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives is entitled to amounts ranging from N1 million to N4 million after four years’ service.
Presidential Primaries: Disquiet as PDP loses Eagle Square to APC
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may now be forced to use the MKO Abiola Stadium in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for its May 28 presidential primary according to new developments.
The APC was said to have used the influence of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammed Musa Bello, to quickly reserve the Eagles Square for its presidential primary scheduled to hold between May 30 and June 1.
The PDP had during its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting ratified the conduct of the presidential primary (special national convention) to elect its presidential candidate on Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, May 29, 2022 in Abuja.
The venue, has, however, become an issue as the APC had already fixed the venue of its convention at Eagle Square, Abuja, where PDP had its special convention to elect its national officers in October, last year.
In its letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP, it was learnt, stated that it will hold its convention at the MKO Stadium, Abuja.
The venue, some stakeholders of the party, who do not want their names mentioned, said the place is too small for where the presidential primary should take place.
It was noted that the party is expecting about 3,700 delegates with about 10,000 supporters and staff, while the capacity of the facility, where the primary will take place at the MKO Stadium, is about 7,000.
The party stakeholders have expressed sadness that the venue will not be able to accommodate the delegates, supporters and friends of aspirants.
Of more concern, the stakeholders said is that, according to the schedule of PDP activities, the party was supposed to publish the names of delegates on Tuesday and that has not been done.
Shekarau dumps APC for NNPP
Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau, a former Kano State Governor, has officially dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) and joined the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
This was confirmed on Tuesday via a terse statement on the official Twitter account of the NNPP.
The statement, which reads: “Finally: Sen Ibrahim Shekarau Join Us”, was shared alongside a photo of Senator Shekarau and Senator Ibrahim Kwankwaso.
Recall that there had been some back and forth about Shekarau’s planned defection to the NNPP, with some power brokers in the APC said to be negotiating with the former governor not to leave the ‘broom party.’
However, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso has been at the helm of the vanguard, working to ensure Shekarau’s defection from the APC to the NNPP.
On Sunday, Kwankwaso stormed the residence of Shekarau in Kano to work out details of the defection.
INEC gives APC, PDP, others deadlines
Ahead of primaries, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given deadlines to political parties on nomination and withdrawal of candidates.
The electoral commission also foreclosed the adjustment of election timetable.
In line with its guidelines, INEC has directed the parties to submit lists of delegates for elective offices to it, seven days to the date of the primary.
Both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) submitted designated centres for their national conventions to INEC yesterday.
APC opted for the Eagle Square while the PDP chose the Velodrome at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.
It was learnt that unlike in the past, the commission decline to bend the rules so as not to distort the timelines for the 2023 poll.
The commission has fixed the last day for withdrawal of candidate(s) and the replacement of withdrawn candidate(s) for July 15 (Presidential and National Assembly) and August 12 for governorship and Houses of Assembly.
Also, while the last day for submission of nomination forms for presidential and National Assembly election is August 8, the curtains will be drawn for governorship and Houses of Assembly on August 18.
The publication of final list of nominated candidates will be on September 20 (Presidential and National Assembly elections) and October 4 for other strands.
But the public campaign for the presidential and National Assembly elections will kick off on September 28 and that of the governorship and Houses of Assembly is from October 4.
According to a top official of INEC, the parties have been notified of the timelines for appropriate guidance.
The guidelines read in part: “In compliance with Article 4.5.1 of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Political Party Primaries, a political party that adopts the indirect primary mode, shall make available to the commission not later than seven days to the date of the primary, the list of persons that will form the delegates that are eligible to vote for nomination of the party candidate to contest every elective position. “
“The list of delegates shall be accompanied with the list of aspirants and the list of the party Electoral panel conducting the primary.
“In compliance with Section 84(9-11) of the Electoral Act 2022, a political party that adopts the Consensus Primary mode shall make available to the commission copies of the written consent of all aspirants cleared for the position indicating their endorsement of the consensus candidate who shall then be ratified by a special congress or convention
“In compliance with Section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022, primaries and voting by members or delegates of a political party to nominate candidates for elective positions shall hold at designated centres within the respective national, state, senatorial, federal and state constituencies.
“Primaries held outside designated constituencies shall accordingly be invalid.”
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