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Buhari’s speech, depressing, failed empathy test – PDP

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed disappointment with President Muhammadu Buhari’s address to the nation on Thursday evening, saying it was completely disconnected from the realities of the tragic events in the country in the last two weeks.

This reaction is contained in a statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.

The PDP, however, appealed to Nigerians to remain calm and allow a return to normal life.

“Our party and, indeed, all lovers of peace in our country, were shocked that Mr. President glossed over the immediate trigger of violent protests – the widely condemned killing at the Lekki Toll Gate by security operatives. A situation which created a global concern and drew the attention of the world to the abuse of human rights going on in our country under his watch,” it read in part.

The opposition party also criticized Buhari for his silence on the demand for investigation into the military’s involvement in the shootings.

It added, “Nigerians had expected that Mr. President would provide the lead for the much-needed overhauling of our security architecture to meet the demands of professionalism and respect for rules of engagement.”

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Restructuring: Umahi recommends six vice-presidents to reduce tension

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Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has recommended a restructuring arrangement with six vice presidents, one from each geo-political zone, to douse the rising “tension” in Nigeria.
He said this in an interview with Channels TV, on Monday, adding that the adoption of six vice-presidents would be a major step towards restructuring the country.
The concept of restructuring has dominated the Nigerian political space, especially at constitution review public forums.
He also urged that more powers should go to states.
“Well, I have a different view about this restructuring thing. My position about restructuring, for example, there are certain valid suggestions that have been made, to have six vice-presidents in the country,” he said.
“Each one is kind of coming from each of the geo-political zones. Tension will go down. This is very important.”
“Now, I will recommend administrative restructuring, which is making sub-national governments to be strengthened — devolving power and responsibilities to sub-national governments; abolishing the local governments,” he added.
Umahi also said President Muhammadu Buhari had done more projects in the South-East than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) achieved in its 16 years in power.
He noted that the rising insecurity in the country is a seed planted during the administration of the PDP.

The governor said, “The insecurity that they used against APC is a seed that was sown in 16 years of PDP administration and so it started germinating, bearing fruit at the time they were still in power,” he said.
“That is why we are suffering now and that is why Mr president is doing everything to solve it.
“Mr president has done more projects in the south-east, than we had in 16 years of PDP.”

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Anambra election: APGA clears Soludo, three others, disqualified five

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Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo, and three others have been cleared to contest the governorship primary election of the All Progressive Grand Alliance on June 23.
The APGA screening committee of prospective governorship aspirants, which cleared for the primary election, also disqualified five others for different reasons.
The decision of the party screening committee was contained in its resolution signed by the party’s National Organizing Secretary, Ifeanyi Mbaeri.
Those disqualified include a former Special Advisor on Technical Matters to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Nwankpo Sullivan Akachukwu; and member representing Aguata Federal Constituency, Chuma Umeoji.
The decision of the screening committee will have to be endorsed by the National Working Committee of the party, in term of eligibility of prospective aspirants to contest the Anambra governorship primary of the party.
According to APGA, the party primary will hold on 23rd of June in line with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) time table for party primaries.

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N’Assembly to conclude constitution review next month

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The National Assembly will conclude ongoing constitutional review next month and pass the bill for the alteration of 1999 Constitution before proceeding on annual break in July.

Towards the early passage of the bill, the National Assembly committees working on the bill will conclude their assignments and present the bill for clause-by-clause consideration before the lawmakers proceed on annual recess in July.

Already, the constitution review committees of both the Senate and House of Representatives are collating reports from the zonal public hearings held last month across the six geo-political zones.

The Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Constitution Review, headed by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, and that of the House of Representatives, headed by Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase, had in May held public hearings in 12 cities, at the rate of two per each of the six geo-political zones.

THISDAY findings revealed that the outcome of the zonal public hearings are to be put together by the committee members with the assistance of consultants engaged for the exercise.

A senator from the North-central geo-political zone and member of the Constitution Review Committee told THISDAY on condition of anonymity that the collation of the aggregate views at the zonal hearings will be worked on at a retreat to be held shortly for the committee members to take a holistic look at the presentations at the public hearings before putting them together into a draft bill for presentation to the federal lawmakers by July.

He said: “Our committee, which is also in liaison with the House committee, will any time from now go into a retreat to look at all the submissions at the public hearings and put them in a draft form for the Senate to consider and ensure clause-by-clause consideration before going on recess next month.”

He listed 16 thematic areas, which will be the guide of the committee while preparing its report to include gender equality for women and girls, federal structure and power devolution, local government and its autonomy, public revenue, fiscal federalism and revenue allocation, Nigerian police and Nigerian security architecture as well as comprehensive judicial reforms, electoral reforms and socio-economic and cultural rights as contained in Chapter 2 of the constitution.

He listed other areas as strengthening the independence of oversight institutions and agencies created by the constitution or pursuant to an act of the National Assembly, residency and indigene provisions, immunity, National Assembly and state and local government creation, FCT administration, the legislature and legislative bureaucracy and constitutional role for traditional rulers.

He expressed optimism that the bill will be ready for clause-by-clause consideration by the Senate at plenary before proceeding on its annual vacation in July.

The senator also stated that after the clause-by-clause consideration by the Senate and harmonisation with the House of Representatives, all those clauses that get through will be sent to the 36 state Houses of Assembly for consideration and approval.

According to him, two-thirds of the Houses of Assembly, which is 24 states, must concur with the position of the National Assembly after which the bill will come back to the National Assembly for further legislative action.

He said: “Once we scale that hurdle, the bill will now be properly vetted to confirm the clauses that made the threshold after which it will be sent to the executive for assent.”

According to him, the current constitution amendment process will see the light of the day as both the executive and the state governments are being carried along in all the moves by the legislative arm to further amend the constitution.

He said: “Let us keep hope alive that the process of amending the constitution, which is now at its peak, will turn out well as I know that the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly is carrying along the executive arm as well as the state on what we are doing to further amend the 1999 Constitution.”

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