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Fresh crisis looms in Senate over committees

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Senate
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Indications emerged yesterday that the Eighth Senate will be enmeshed in another round of crisis when it finally settles the pending leadership tussle. This time, the crisis might emanate from the distribution of the standing committees of the Assembly, when the lawmakers resume plenary on July 21.

The reason is because the 2015 Standing Order of the Senate stipulates that the committees be shared equally among the six geopolitical zones of the country, irrespective of political party affiliation. Accordingly, each zone is expected to get at least nine committee chairmanship seats out of the 57 Senate committees that will be set up when lawmakers resume plenary and settle their pending leadership differences. The new principle is in compliance with Order 3 (4) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended.

The Order states that “the appointment of Senators as chairmen and members of committees shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the six geo-political zones of the country and there shall be no predominance of senators from a few geopolitical zones.”

However, chairmanship positions of the 57 committees have over the years, always been skewed in favour of senators belonging to the ruling party and ranking in status.

The PDP enjoyed this privileged up to the 7th Senate. But the tradition is bound to change going by the new provision, which is expected to provoke protest from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), particularly those who are opposed to Senator Bukola Saraki’s emergence as the President of the Senate.

Meanwhile, this portion of the Standing Order, which denies the APC privilege of domination in committee sharing is in conflict with the 2011 version, which favoured the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In the 7th Senate, the distribution of committees showed a serious discrepancy in favour of the PDP. In the previous arrangement, the South-South got 14 chairmanship seats.

This is followed by the North-Central, South-East and North-West, which got 10 each. The South-West got the least number of chairmanship positions with only five seats while the North- East got seven. The political implication of the equal sharing principle as contained in the new rule is that the APC, which got the bulk of its membership mainly from the North-West, North-Central and South- West will enjoy no special preference as the PDP did when it formed the government in the country.

It will be recalled that the 2015 Standing Order of the Senate is in serious controversy and has generated severe contention in the Senate, leading to the intervention of the Police early last week.

Senators belonging to the Senate Unity Forum (SUF), who are challenging Saraki’s emergence, had petitioned the police over what they described as forgery of the Senate Rule.

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Kwankwaso denies rift with Shekarau

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The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP),  Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso has said there is no rift between him and the former Governor of Kano, Ibrahim Shekarau.

Kwankwaso who said this in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service said the reports going on that there is a problem with Ibrahim Shekarau are not true and are rumours by mischief makers for the reasons known to them.

Kwankwaso said this while responding to some reports that Senator Shekarau is planning to return to the PDP because the party failed to fulfil the promises made to them before he joined the NNPP.

“There was no agreement between us and Shekarau apart from giving some political positions to his people which we tried to fulfil but there is nothing we can do because it was brought late”.

According to him, most of those brought by Shekarau to get a seat in the NNPP joined the party at a time when INEC would not accept their candidacy because the primary election was over.

He, however, assured that when the Government is formed, they will get key positions.

Senator Kwankwaso added that this will not cause any problem for the NNPP party saying that there is no problem between him and Shekarau.

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Details of Tinubu’s meeting with Obasanjo emerge

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Tinubu meets Obasanjp

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday visited the Penthouse residence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta.

Tinubu visited Obasanjo in company of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbaajabiamila, Chief Bisi Akande and Nuhu Ribadu.

At about 1pm when Tinubu’s chopper landed within the OOPL, he was received by Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, former Governors Segun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo and other top government functionaries.

At about 1:20pm, Tinubu and his entourage went into Obasanjo’s residence to meet their host.

An inside source said the former Lagos State Governor, Abiodun, Gbajabiamila, Osoba, Akande, Ribadu and others first held a meeting with the Balogun Owu behind closed doors.

After about an hour, the former President pulled Tinubu and they both went into a private room for another meeting.

It was gathered that the duo had a private discussion not known to any of those who went in with the APC national leader.

Tinubu later had lunch at Obasanjo’s place before he departed after about two hours.

When he was accosted by pressmen downstairs, the presidential candidate refused to grant an interview as he ‘hopped’ into the waiting bus that conveyed him to the MKO Abiola Stadium.

Tens of APC stalwarts had stormed the former President’s residence, singing, drumming and dancing.

Addressing artisans and APC faithful at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Tinubu said he was not in Ogun State for campaign.

He said: “We love what the governor is doing and we are glad with all the support you have given him. Campaign has not started yet, I’m just here to greet you. Thank you and God bless you. God bless Ogun state, God bless Nigeria, God bless your children. Thank you.”

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2023: I will tell you who to vote for as my successor – Wike tells Rivers people

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has said he will inform Rivers people who to vote as the next governor of the state in he 2023 general elections.

Wike said as a governor, he knows all the candidates for the elections so well.

He said he loves Rivers State a lot and as such will not allow the people make a mistake in electing their leaders in 2023.

Wike was speaking at the commissioning of the remodelled Waterlines Building in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

He said “we will tell you those you will vote for, I know and I will tell you who is who.

“Most of you don’t know, there are those who want to come here to just want to be governor with no agenda.

“Rivers State has done a lot of things for us, we owe Rivers state a lot. Personally, I owe this state a lot for giving me the opportunity and I will not allow this state to go astray and run into the hands of armed robbers. I will not allow it”.

The governor also took a swipe at some members of the People’s Democratic Party who he warned that elections are not won in the hotels in Abuja but at the grassroots.

2023: I will tell you who to vote for – Wike tells Rivers people

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