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Posts tagged ‘Senate President’

Christie Agenda Hampered as Former Democratic Allies Turn on Him.


To push his first-term agenda, Republican Governor Chris Christie had no greater booster than Senate President Stephen Sweeney, New Jersey’s top-ranking elected Democrat.

When Christie wanted to make state workers contribute more toward pensions and benefits, Sweeney, an ironworkers union organizer, stepped up with a bill. To drum up voter support for $750 million in borrowing for university construction, Sweeney, who never attended college, hit the campus tour circuit.

Now, as Christie seeks backing from the legislature’s majority Democrats to further cut pensions that constrain his record $34.4 billion proposed budget for fiscal 2015, Sweeney is casting himself more as foe than enabler.

“This has nothing to do with me getting along with him or not,” Sweeney, 54, said in a Feb. 25 interview. “It’s business.”

The chill comes amid state and federal investigations of the administration’s links to intentional traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge. Christie, a potential presidential candidate, is seeking a policy victory to reverse sliding approval. He also is looking for bragging points as chairman and chief fundraiser for the Republican Governors Association in a year in which 36 states will elect chief executives.

More Cutbacks

Sweeney is the one New Jersey politician with the clout to make both the legislature and labor swallow a sequel to Christie’s first-term benefits cutbacks, which included a higher retirement age and bigger employee contributions to health insurance and the pension plan. Sweeney on Feb. 24 said another round isn’t negotiable.

“He’s saying, ’I don’t feel like giving anymore, especially to a weakened governor,’” said Matthew Hale, a political-science professor at Seton Hall University in South Orange.

Since Christie, 51, began his second term last month, Sweeney has soured:

The governor’s inaugural address, the burly lawmaker said, was “long on rhetoric and short on solutions.”

His handling of Hurricane Sandy aid: a “colossal failure.”

On another Christie proposal, a 10 percent income-tax cut, Sweeney told reporters Feb. 24: “You gotta be kidding me.”

Not Shy

Sweeney, like Christie, isn’t afraid to speak his mind. A resident of West Deptford, a Philadelphia suburb, Sweeney entered public service after his daughter was born with Down syndrome, because he wanted to improve laws and services for children with special needs. He served on his county’s governing board and was elected to the Senate in 2001. He has been re- elected three times, and has been president since 2010.

Since 2006, the lawmaker had been pushing pension changes over the objections of members of his party, who are typically backed in New Jersey elections by public unions.

Christie’s predecessor, Democrat Jon Corzine, wouldn’t hear of it, telling workers at a rally in front of the Statehouse that he would fight for them.

In the Feb. 25 budget speech, Christie said New Jersey’s pension system is underfunded by $52 billion after a decade of expanded benefits and missed payments. He signed a law in 2011 requiring the state to make one-seventh of its pension contribution in fiscal 2012, then raise the payment each year until it reaches the full annual amount, $5.5 billion, in 2018.

Creative Invective

Christie ousted Corzine in the 2009 election as voters rejected the one-term Democrat’s handling of the economy. The first Republican elected New Jersey governor since 1997, Christie and Sweeney made an agreement in June 2011 on a plan to curb pension costs. Unions picketed outside the Statehouse, while members hissed and booed inside as Sweeney testified on the measure before a legislative panel.

A month later, when Christie removed millions of dollars of Democratic add-ons to his second budget, Sweeney called him a bully, a punk and “a mean old bastard.” Christie told reporters two weeks later that he held no grudges because of the remarks, and he said together they had done “amazing things.”

“Senator Sweeney and I have a passionate relationship,” Christie said then. “When you have a passionate relationship like that, sometimes people get overemotional, and I think Senator Sweeney’s comments of two weeks ago are probably an example of that. We have a good relationship and we’re friends.”

The pension and benefits bill “never would have happened without Steve Sweeney’s vision and his leadership,” he said.

Taking Credit

Christie’s first-term successes were made possible because of alliances with prominent Democrats. Such ties stretch to Sweeney’s South Jersey base and its major political fundraiser, George Norcross. In the north, Christie is aligned with Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. The governor worked with DiVincenzo on the pension changes and with Norcross on reorganizing the state’s universities.

Sweeney, mentioned as a possible candidate for governor in 2017, made it clear this week that he wants credit for the 2011 retirement legislation.

“Let’s get it straight: It was my plan, not his,” Sweeney told reporters after Christie’s Feb. 25 budget address. “I was not his collaborator. He came along and worked on a plan that I believed in because I know pensions.”

2017 Race

Sweeney ceded a chance to challenge Christie last year to Barbara Buono, a Senate colleague from Metuchen who lost by 22 percentage points in November. In January, after e-mails showed a Christie aide suggested the bridge tie-ups in Fort Lee, whose Democratic mayor didn’t endorse the governor, Sweeney formed an investigatory committee with power to subpoena members of the executive branch.

“He’s been such a close ally of Christie over the past four years that he has to prove himself anew to the Democratic Party,” said Peter Woolley, a politics professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison.

Christie, in his budget speech, said the pension changes haven’t gone far enough, because costs continue to rise. He gave no specifics on what else was needed. Sweeney said the governor should focus on improving the economy to boost revenue, not cutting obligations.

“Sweeney saw his political star rising because of the ascendancy of Chris Christie, and that allegiance could carry him into the governor’s mansion,” said Brigid Harrison, a political professor at Montclair State University. “Now he recognizes that his alliance with Christie is detrimental. Over the next several years he’s going to make every effort to distance himself.”

Sweeney in recent months has adapted some of Christie’s public-relations strategy. Christie has his town-hall meetings; Sweeney this month started touring towns to draw attention to Sandy victims’ troubles.

Once a month, the governor hears from voters during an hour-long radio call-in show. In December, Sweeney began weekly “Twitter Thursdays,” using his social-media account to answer questions. He has about 2,500 followers; Christie has 439,000.

In a Dec. 12 exchange, one user asked who would be the victor in a Sweeney-Christie arm-wresting match. Sweeney, with apologies to the governor, said, “It’s only a competition if the other guy has a chance.”

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

B’Haram, David Mark recounts enormous financial loses, says enough is enough.


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We’ve spent enough fighting insurgency – Mark

Senate President David Mark yesterday took stock of the enormous resources pumped into fighting insurgency in some states, declaring that, “enough is enough.” He disclosed this during  a tour of his Benue South senatorial district at the weekend.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, Senator Mark also restated his resolve and total commitment to humanity and the nation even as he  bemoaned the unabating socio-political  and security challenges  facing the country.
Senator  Mark urged Nigerians to use this festive season to seek the face of the Almighty God to overcome the lingering security challenges.
Represented by his wife, Helen, the Senate President urged the people to preach love and peaceful co-existence,  urging prayers for leaders to be guided by God’s wisdom in piloting the affairs of Nigeria.
“My visit is not only to felicitate with you this season, but to also remind you as patriotic Nigerians, the need to seek God’s intervention in our country. We have witnessed series of violence. We have lost many of our loved ones on account of violent attacks.
“It is high time we say enough is enough. Our resources are hugely spent on security in order to maintain law and order across Nigeria. These resources would have been channeled to some other developmental needs. With God’s  wisdom and guidance, Nigeria will overcome her challenges and make the nation a better place for all,” he said.
Mark also pledged: “I will not deviate from the service to our fatherland and I urge every Nigerian to be part of this crusade. All we need is to return to God and He will answer us.”
Elated by the large  turn-out in this year’s constituency annual visit, he emphasized that the food items including bags of rice and clothes be distributed across the wards in the senatorial district and advised that they should be shared specifically to  the less-privileged, widows and the aged.
In their remarks, chairmen of the nine councils, who spoke through the Chairman of Otukpo Local Government, Dr. Innocent Onuh, commended Senator Mark for the love of his people and pledged to make service delivery to the citizens the cornerstone of their administrations.

From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja

We’ve spent enough fighting insurgency – Mark

 December 23, 2013 1 Comment »

From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja

Senate President David Mark yesterday took stock of the enormous resources pumped into fighting insurgency in some states, declaring that, “enough is enough.” He disclosed this during  a tour of his Benue South senatorial district at the weekend.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, Senator Mark also restated his resolve and total commitment to humanity and the nation even as he  bemoaned the unabating socio-political  and security challenges  facing the country.
Senator  Mark urged Nigerians to use this festive season to seek the face of the Almighty God to overcome the lingering security challenges.
Represented by his wife, Helen, the Senate President urged the people to preach love and peaceful co-existence,  urging prayers for leaders to be guided by God’s wisdom in piloting the affairs of Nigeria.
“My visit is not only to felicitate with you this season, but to also remind you as patriotic Nigerians, the need to seek God’s intervention in our country. We have witnessed series of violence. We have lost many of our loved ones on account of violent attacks.
“It is high time we say enough is enough. Our resources are hugely spent on security in order to maintain law and order across Nigeria. These resources would have been channeled to some other developmental needs. With God’s  wisdom and guidance, Nigeria will overcome her challenges and make the nation a better place for all,” he said.
Mark also pledged: “I will not deviate from the service to our fatherland and I urge every Nigerian to be part of this crusade. All we need is to return to God and He will answer us.”
Elated by the large  turn-out in this year’s constituency annual visit, he emphasized that the food items including bags of rice and clothes be distributed across the wards in the senatorial district and advised that they should be shared specifically to  the less-privileged, widows and the aged.
In their remarks, chairmen of the nine councils, who spoke through the Chairman of Otukpo Local Government, Dr. Innocent Onuh, commended Senator Mark for the love of his people and pledged to make service delivery to the citizens the cornerstone of their administrations.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Islamic agent of Igboland Gov Okorocha PDP has no plan for Igbos.


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Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State recently held a media chat with some journalists in the state. He shed light on many state and national issues. Excerpts:

What would be your next political ambition come 2015, are ypou going for re-election as governor or aspiring for the presidency?
Let me make this point clear that I’m a member of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA); that is my party there is no controversy about it. APGA still remains my cultural party because for an Igbo man, APGA represents a way of life, but it is not a national political party. If you may recall APGA became divided. One APGA looked towards the side of PDP and the other that I was a member looked towards APC. I was in APGA as political party but now I am in APC and for one reason if you may recall Action Congress of Nigeria ACN, Congress for Progressive Change CPC, All Nigeria Peoples Party ANPP were a regional party, and all these parties came together to form a national party to challenge PDP.
So it would sound very phony to have APGA as a regional party when others have merged for a common purpose. So the wisest thing do was to merge with

APC and the remaining APGA are in PDP.
For me APC is good for the South East because from the way political equation is structured in Nigeria, it doesn’t appear to me that PDP has any plan for Ndi Igbo. For instance, none of the positions of the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, was allotted to the South East by the PDP. As I said earlier, the best thing is to join the APC to remedy the imbalance in future. It is only wise to say that South East is better off in APC because there’s no way the positions would elude the zone if APC finds itself in government. Again PDP has never had any stiff opposition. This is the only time we have a formidable opposition in the country. And I am confident that come 2015 APC will take the day.
Asking for my political ambition in 2015, you may wish to recollect that I was once a presidential aspirant and came second in the primary that produced the late President Umaru Musa Yar’dua. So I am not a new person in the presidential race of this country. Actually I need your advice on what to do.
Today, among all presidential aspirants, I am still a force to be reckoned with. I have a strong passion for my Imo people and my vision is of a national capacity.
Why are still not a registered member of APC, have you been refused your formal registration?
I am one of the founding members of the APC and it is not true that I have been refused registration in a party that I am a leader. It is mere speculation. Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN) who is one of those saying that I have not been registered with the APC was a member of merging parties. But the issue is that we in APC have not started registration yet but that may commence before the end of the year because. For now all the structures for registration are in place.
Since your party has not yet zoned the presidency to any region in the country, what does it portend for the Igbos?
Let me again say that our party APC has not zoned the presidency to anybody and does not believe in zoning; we believe that anybody that has something upstairs irrespective of zone rules this country because zoning does not rule a country. Zoning has rather produced mediocrity.
I think we have come of age when men must be elected into offices purely on their individual merits instead of laying undue emphasis on where they come from.
Since the committee that probed your predecessor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim submitted its report nothing has been heard of it. Does it mean that your government has abandoned the project?
That is something that Nigerians should ask questions about. I have made my report to EFCC to inform them about the N67 billion in question which is missing in the state coffers. But it looks like people who are assumed to be having relationship with the presidency cannot be probed. There have been so many cases of such bordering on many individuals in the country but because of their relationship with the presidency both the EFCC and the ICPC have to stay clear.
There is no reason my predecessor should not have been called to question on how he used the state funds. I can authoritatively state that there is no single structure anywhere in this state which my immediate predecessor will say that he did with tax payers’ money. But even at this the EFCC has continued to harass officials of my administration with invitations to answer one allegations that are baseless. I think we have done our job and what is left now is to take it to the people’s court. I do not have the organ to prosecute anybody and it is as a result of this that we have established our own organ known as Imo State Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which of course is in the pipelines and when we have it, we will be able to act.
Very soon, the nation would be celebrating her Centenary following the 1914 historic amalgamation of the then Northern and Southern protectorates. What is your reaction?
Our strength lies in our market and in our population. I do not support isolated calls for division or disintegration because to me, this is a “no go area” whether Nigeria should be or not to be. I congratulate Nigerians on the forth coming Centenary celebration.
Every nation on earth has its problems and so Nigeria cannot be in isolation. Therefore the call for disintegration is neither here nor there. We are building something here in the state in commemoration of the 2014 Centenary.
What is your reaction to the just conducted Anambra State governorship election?
It is a monumental shock to Nigerians because even a goat noticed the glaring irregularities that trailed the polls and which even INEC shamelessly admitted. The elections in Anambra and Delta states are eye openers because this nation should not be ran in this manner at all. INEC officials were arrested and locked up in Imo. The police, INEC and the PDP all combined to perpetrate unprecedented electoral fraud and the slogan has always been “get the result, write it and announce it and let them go to court”. Look at what happened in the Oguta re run election in the state.
With the defeat of the APC in Anambra, there are speculations that you might abandon the APC for another party?
I am not a respecter of party but a respecter of vision. I have critically examined the structure of the PDP and I want to let us know that in the next 20 years Nigeria will be in bondage if PDP retains power. If I am given the opportunity to rule this country I will transform it in just two years. My journey to APC is because of the way PDP is structured and no young man will ever survive in PDP.
Everybody is tired of PDP and the APC is the only way to go and I will stand for justice and fairness wherever I go.

 Source: Radio Biafra.

War Drums Sound, Jonathan Insists Nigeria Must Remain a United Country.


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President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday led other politicians across party divides to bid farewell to the late first national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Governor of Plateau State, Chief Solomon Lar.
During a commendation service held at the National Christian Centre in Abuja, Jonathan, in a tribute read on his behalf by Senate President, David Mark, described Lar as “a bridge builder and emancipator of the oppressed.”
He said, “Solomon Lar was generous to a fault and as you will all recall, he continued to be a benefactor to so many Nigerians as he was paying school fees for so many people. He was looking after so many widows and he didn’t care what religion you belonged to.
“His legacies are going to be difficult for us to follow and emulate. But he taught us some lessons: first that once you are blessed by God, you must extend that blessing and favour to other human beings and not be selfish about things that come from God.
“The second and perhaps, the most important of all is that Nigeria must remain a united country. Lar was called an emancipator with his white handkerchief not because he wanted a particular section of this country to dominate the others but because he wanted every Nigerian to feel that he had equal opportunity to walk freely as a Nigerian and be respected as a Nigerian.”
The National Chairman of PDP, Bamanga Tukur, also eulogised Lar, saying, “Today is a testimony that Lar is a person, a true Nigerian, a true African, an emancipator of the oppressed. We are very happy and Lar is giving us an understanding of why we should continue to regenerate and lead our party to unity.
“The PDP needs to be united and strong for us to continue to have a strong government for a strong economy.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, said, “Lar was like a father to me, he was generous. I am certainly short of words for this politician par excellence. The nation has lost a pillar of support, certainly, he has gone to rest in the bosom of the Lord.”
In his sermon, the Archbishop of Jos, The Most Rev. Ben Kwashi preached on the significance of resurrection.

Source: Radio Biafra.

National conference Jonathan’s motives are suspicious –Tinubu.


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Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos state, Senator Bola Tinubu, has provided more insight and justification into why he is opposed to the proposed national conference. A week after he returned from a medical trip, proponents of the national conference continued to challenge his comments and rejection of the national conference’s implementation by the current administration.

Tinubu maintained that he remained an unrepentant supporter of the idea of Sovereign National Conference, as he is weary of a rushed embrace.

“Though I remain an unrepentant supporter of a genuinely Sovereign National Conference, I am suspicious of this present concoction, because it is half- baked and fully deceptive. Government’s sincerity is questionable; the timing is also questionable. Now that this government is sinking in a pool of political and economic hot water of its own making, it gets hold of national conference idea as if it were a life jacket,” he said.

Tinubu said, however, that he was simply exercising his right as a citizen and would not take back what he had said about the issue of sincerity or insincerity of the government, just as he wants the proposal subjected to questioning and scrutiny.

“I will not take anything I have said back on the proposed national conference by this present administration. I insist that the planned national conference is a ‘Greek’ gift and public deception. Beware of the Greek gift; let us first of all ask a series of questions,” he said.

Furthermore, Tinubu asserts: “President Jonathan‘s epiphany –if epiphany, is not expedient; it is calculated to enhance his 2015 re-election bid, as such, should be subjected to questioning.

It is difficult to lay aside the suspicion that his sudden conversion is all about 2015. Otherwise, why the sudden endorsement of a national conference, not merely in principle, but with a rush toward some form of implementation? What has happened that was not already in play in all those years authorities rejected demand for a national conference?” he queried.

An unperturbed Tinubu, in an indepth write-up, explained the reason he took the position he took about the conference, despite its seeming unpopularity. According to him, the Jonathan-led government must first answer some fundamental questions about the timing, sincerity and most importantly, capability and credibility of the president to deliver a genuine national conference.

“The core questions to ask here is, how credible, reliable and capable is the current president to be able to midwife a critical conference such as this? Will he be sincere enough to let all issues on the agenda to be exhaustively discussed at the conference? Will this president have the guts to implement fully all final resolutions of the conference without fear, favour or any pandering”? Tinubu asks.

Tinubu warns that we are about to embark on a similar futile exercise, arguing that some two to three months back, our demand for a sovereign national conference found little sympathy in the eyes of the Executive and Legislative arms of government, until some three weeks ago when Senate President David Mark, issued a qualified endorsement.

Then, in his National Day broadcast, President Jonathan, announced to everyone’s surprise, that the Federal Government would, indeed, sponsor a national conference, at which Nigeria‘s ethnic nationalists would discuss and negotiate the terms of continued association. Within days, Dr Jonathan named a chairman and members of a committee to advise on modalities for staging the conference and submit a report within one month.

Tinubu, however, welcomes a change of heart by the current administration, but only for a moment.

“I, like other well-meaning Nigerians, must welcome this shift. It is an admission, at last, that the wide cracks in the national fabric can no longer be papered over and that the time has come for fresh thinking on fundamental problems, the existence of which has for too long been denied,” he said.

Tinubu’s objection to the proposed national conference is hinged on historical experience and the twin issues of sincerity and capability.

“This is an administration that has been known to have flip-flopped on so many critical issues of national importance.

President Jonathan was part of two issues of national importance in recent past —amnesty and the Uwais-led panel on electoral reform. We all knew what happened to the two issues. The amnesty, from inception, had been corrupt and hijacked by the president’s clique. It is one of Nigeria’s drain pipes. A slush fund for political expeditions and a conduit to siphon money to the boys. Also, the Uwais-led panel’s report gathered dust and suffered from constant cherry picking. What about the much-publicised SURE-P initiative of this administration? Another ill-conceived and fraudulently implemented programme of this administration. Billions of naira had so far disappeared into private pockets and the treasury still bleeds. I can go on and on. Is this the leader we want to trust with organising a national dialogue or is it conference they call it? Where is capability? Where is sincerity? Where is presence of mind?” he asked.

For him, the issue of sincerity is fundamental.

While agreeing that Nigerians need to talk, Tinubu insists the midwife must be trustworthy and warns that if we get this wrong, the future will be fraught with dangers. For him, Nigeria is a drift and unless we start a discourse aimed at updating and improving our political economy and its structures, we might wake up one day from a night devoid of dreams, because we have turned into a nation devoid of hope.

“Yes, we need to talk. However, we need a national conference that is truly sovereign and not one dictated by the reactionary and regressive elements of the ruling party. This is not the way to clear Nigeria off danger. This is a selfish ploy that will plunge the nation deeper in darkness and indirection. This government must first show good faith for Nigerians to believe them. President Jonathan is not the man to give Nigerians a true national conference. He can only give us a “Jonathan conference” as bitter icing on the sour cake, his government has become. This government lacks the presence of mind and the decency to implement a national conference.

This government’s offer of a national conference is a wingless bird. It will not fly. The advisory committee set up to design a framework and come up with recommendations as to the form, structure and mechanism of the process will soon find out they are on a journey with no destination save the wall of futility.

Finally, Tinubu suspects we are being saddled by an imposed national conference by individuals, who have shown total disdain for anything nationalistic.

” It will be an empty and expensive futility with no true dividend for a people wanting their leaders to show them a way out of the pit and not a way deeper into it,” Tinubu said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigeria Senate pass Vote of no Confidence on the Country after 53 years of Independence.


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We politicians have failed the masses says David Mark

In a surprisingly candid assessment of the state of Nigeria, the country’s Senate on Thursday gave their assessment of the nation 53 years after independence, asking political leaders to search their souls just as the Upper Legislative Chamber urged them to shun greed and selfishness.

Adopting a motion by Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba (SAN) and 10 other senators, the chamber lamented that Nigeria had retrogressed from being a producing and exporting nation at independence in 1960 to her present status of a consuming nation.

Senate President David Mark asked rhetorically whether Nigeria still stands in brotherhood as it did at independence. He said it is the ordinary Nigerians who deserved to be congratulated for exhibiting so much patience, amid the frustration occasioned by maladministration and mis-governance.

He said: “We are genuinely worried about our country; across political, religious and ethnic boundaries, we’re are truly worried because some key aspects of our values and tradition have been lost. In the old national anthem, we said ‘in brotherhood we stand.’

“Do we still stand in brotherhood today? We used to be our brothers’ keepers. Are we still our brothers’ keepers? The answer definitely is no. Instead, we do those things that hurt others now.

“We need to look inwards and begin to search our minds. The ball certainly is in our court as leaders to do what we should do to reverse the trend. We must shelve the attitude of seeking power at all costs. We do not need to get desperate about getting to the top. At any level we are, we must be ready to contribute our quotas.

” We have so much human resources in this country but we are losing them because everybody has gone out of the country to seek greener pastures. We must do something to get them back” he stated.

Introducing the motion earlier, Ndoma-Egba said Nigeria deserved congratulations for surviving series of challenges that bedevilled her right from her pre-independence days through the civil war period to the long period of military rule and yet, remained a united country. “Our democracy has moved from episodes to an enduring, unbroken democracy of 14 years,” he said.

Senator Solomon Ita Enang (Akwa Ibom) deplored a situation where over six million Nigerians have applied for few openings at the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).

He noted that it was too bad that Nigeria had not done well in all indices of development. Enang who did not disclose the exact figure of the vacancies, lamented that Nigeria could not be said to be truly independent when the country’s teeming unemployed graduates struggle to fill very limited slots.

“We need to find out the percentage of graduate unemployment. More than six million have already applied for immigration positions for few hundred openings. Let there be employment for our graduates in this country,” he said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

PDP crisis why reconciliation has been impossible Gov Aliyu.


 

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Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, yesterday revealed why it has become difficult to reconcile all the feuding parties in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Accorind to him, external forces are deliberately frustrating reconciliation moves targeted at genuine process of resolution of the crisis.

Warning them to steer clear from the party, he said that the forces had meddled in and aggravated the dispute between the President Goodluck Jonathan and the G7 rebel governors through various write-ups in newspapers designed to cause animosity and make reconciliation difficult.

 

“We must not allow people who are outside the party to get so enmeshed in the problem that is not their own and in the process kill that which we want to build.

“I need to draw your attention to this because I have been reading a lot of articles that they planted to create more animosity and anarchy that will make reconciliation difficult,” he said.

Aliyu made the accusation while receiving the Brigade Commander, 31 Field Artillery Brigade, Nigerian Army, Minna, Maj.- Gen. Hassan Salihu.

He noted that the PDP had the capacity to resolve its differences without outside interference.

“I am beginning to see a sign as if some people don’t want reconciliation to take place through the type of articles they are planting in newspapers because what is happening is an internal affair of the PDP,” Aliyu said.

Aliyu added that the major cause of the struggle by the seven aggrieved governors, which resulted in their walking out of the August 31 Special National Convention in Abuja, was the desire to build a democratic culture in the country.

“The whole essence is about democracy and morality. Democracy may not necessarily flourish. Morality means that if you make an agreement whether privately or publicly we must learn to keep it,” he added.

Commending the military for paying adequate attention to the training of its officers, the governor noted that of all security agencies, the military has the most educated personnel.

“We also need to pay serious attention to training our children as military or civilians, and in some societies children are given military training. That is why when they called for the scrapping of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, we appealed that it should be one-and-a halfyears with six months of military training.”

Speaking earlier, Salihu told the governor that the brigade was training its officers and men on how to address security challenges, while thanking the state government for the support given to the military and other security organisations in the state.

Meanwhile, the factional crisis in the PDP reared its head yesterday on the floor of the Senate as two senators from the two factions struggled for supremacy.

The face-off was triggered by the former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje, who while paying tribute to the late Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, described himself as a member of the New PDP.

Goje said he worked with the deceased in what he described as the “old PDP,” when both of them were governors and ministers.

The former governor caused an uproar in the Senate following his repeated comment that he belonged to the New PDP under the leadership of Alhaji Abubakar Baraje.

This was as opposition senators joined Goje to drum and chorus the “new PDP, new PDP, new PDP,” in such a rancorous manner that the entire Senate was temporarily enveloped in confusion as the atmosphere became rowdy.

At this stage, Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West) clinging the Senate order rule book in his left hand shouted, “Point of order, point of order.”

While still shouting to be recognised by the Senate President, Adeyemi intermittently said: “This is a hallowed chamber. Don’t let us reduce it to a market square.”

When he was eventually recognised, Adeyemi, citing Order 53 (7) from the Senate Standing Rules, argued that the remark of Goje that he belonged to the new PDP was offensive.

He described as regrettable that Goje, a former governor and sitting senator on the platform of PDP, could claim to belong to another platform, describing the utterance as unprofessional.

In the midst of rising tension in the chamber, Mark ruled that it was impossible for anyone to bring any issue bothering on who is chairman of the PDP or not to the floor of the Senate, emphasising that such debate would never take place in the parliament.

Mark noted that PDP remained one united party and insisted that since Goje admitted that he was a member of the new PDP, there was no cause for alarm, stressing that the party remained one.

Also, an Ikeja High Court yesterday fixed October 10 to deliver its ruling on the preliminary objection filed by the PDP National Chairman, AlhajiBamangaTukur, challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain a suit filed by the Baraje faction of the party.

The trial judge, Justice OludotunAdefope-Okojie, fixed the date after hearing arguments from parties.

The other claimants in the suit are Sam Jaja and Prince OlagunsoyeOyin lola.

The faction had asked the court for an interlocutory injunction restraining Tukur and three others, from parading themselves as PDP National Executive Committee members.

Joined alongside Tukur as defendants are: Mr. UcheSecondus, Deputy National Chairman; KemaChikwe, Women Leader and Chief OlisaMetuh, National Publicity Secretary.

Tukur and his co-defendants had on September 18, asked the court to strike out the suit for want of jurisdiction.

The defendants had also argued that the writs of summons did not comply with the mandatory requirements of Section 97 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act because they were not signed.

During Wednesday’s proceedings, the claimants’ counsel, Mr. Robert Emukpaeruo, urged the court to dismiss the preliminary objection.

Emukpaeruo argued that the court had jurisdiction to entertain the matter, stressing that the judgement of the court can be enforced against the defendants.

According to him, as long as a court can enforce its orders, the court can exercise jurisdiction.

“The mere fact that the defendants are not resident in Lagos State does not mean that the court does not have jurisdiction over the matter,” he stated.

Emukpaeruo said the writ of summons was endorsed for service outside Lagos State, stressing that the endorsements had brought the defendants within the jurisdiction of the court.

Responding, Tukur’s counsel, Dr. AmaechiNwaiwu, SAN, argued that Emukpaeruo submissions on the issue of jurisdiction were misconceived.

“The issue of physical effectiveness is a post judgement matter. The main issue is the competence of your lordship to adjudicate on this matter,” Nwaiwu said.

He argued that the writs of summons were not properly endorsed under the Sheriff and Civil Process Act.

Mr. OnyechiIkpeazu (SAN), counsel for Secondus, Chikwe and Metuh also adopted Nwaiwu’s submissions.

He urged the court to dismiss the suit, stressing that its jurisdiction was circumscribed by law.

In another development, Senator Magnus Abe representing Rivers South East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, has stated that the current crisis rocking the PDP was self-inflicted by the party’s leadership, while he described the National Chairman of the PDP as the major problem of the party, following his refusal to obey laid down rules and guidelines that govern the affairs of the party.

Abe, who spoke with journalists in his Port Harcourt home on Wednesday, said: “The division started because members don’t like what BamangaTukur is doing in the party. His disregard for party rules, execution of party programmes and actions; and also, his unilateral injection of certain clauses into the party constitution without due consultation are unacceptable impunity,” he said.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), also said senators were not thinking of any impeachment moves, as there has been no justification for such action and that the Senate remains a united house under its President, David Mark.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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