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Posts tagged ‘Senate President’

Ohanaeze, MASSOB disagree over conference.


Ohanaeze logo

The apex socio-cultural group of the East, Ohanaeze Ndi’gbo, and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, have disagreed on the proposed sovereign national conference’s ability to ensure the unity of the country.

While Ohanaeze said Igbo people backed the conference as the only way forward for the country, MASSOB argued that it would only yield positive results if the division of the country would be discussed.

The National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze, Mr. Tony Oganah, in an interview with our correspondent on Friday, said the shape the country would take would be known during the conference.

He said, “The East, Yoruba (South-West) and the North-Central of Nigeria are on the same page. I was a member of Pro-National Conference under late Chief Anthony Enahoro and ever since then, we have all agreed that SNC must be held. It is the only way to move forward.

“One thing I know certainly is that Nigerians want to stay together as one country under the terms and conditions the conference would define. Let us not circumvent the conference.”

The Director of Information, MASSOB, Mr. Uchenna Madu, however, told our correspondent on Friday that although the group could table its grievances at the conference, it has not given the conference a consideration.

Madu said MASSOB was not clamouring for the conference but for the actualisation of Biafra. He criticised the Senate President, Mr. David Mark‘s position that there might be no-go areas at the conference.

He noted that the group would not participate if those to convoke the conference introduced clauses that bar discussion of the country’s dissolution.

He said, “We can never depend on a clause or certain law made by certain people; we depend solely on the things that are leading us to Nigeria’s total collapse – the corruption in Nigeria, the ethnic sentiments, religious differences and the killings of our people. These are the things that can precipitate Nigeria’s total collapse.

“Look at the political differences, look at the Peoples Democratic Party today, look at other political parties at the same time. All these things are generating tension in the land. They are a welcome development; they make people to truly know and understand why we are agitating for Biafra.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

North National conference won’t solve Nigeria’s problems.


Anthony-Sani

The umbrella body of northern Nigeria, Arewa Consultative Forum, has said the proposed sovereign national conference may not achieve the goals for which it will be convoked.

It said the problem with the country was not the constitution, federal structure or form of government but the lack of political will by stakeholders.”

The Publicity Secretary of the forum, Mr. Anthony Sani, in an interview with our correspondent on Friday, noted that contrary to some not opinions, the North would not oppose a national conference, as long as Nigerians wanted it.

 

He said, “I have told you that SNC amounts to passing a vote of no confidence on our democracy and its institutions, which no group has the right to do. I honestly do not know how they hope to ensure that all ethnic nationalities will be represented, considering that there is no consensus on the number of ethnic nationalities let alone how they can be represented to the satisfaction of all.

“I say this because some people talk as if the current legislators are representatives of not people but ghosts.

“If Nigerians want a national dialogue, who is ACF to say no, more so, the resolutions of the conference must still go through the legislature in order to find accommodation in the constitution.

“ACF has made it clear that the problems of Nigeria has nothing to do with soundness of the laws but with the unwillingness of the operators to live up their responsibilities. And this has been brought about by the collapse of national ideals, moral values and total collapse of social contract among groups and individuals.”

Sani added that people do not know that those who seek to redefine democracy outside its three elements of liberty, justice and common decency are trying to redefine the truth or evil.

At the plenary last Tuesday, the Senate President, Mr. David Mark had said, “Sense of discontentment and alienation in some quarters has fuelled extremism, apathy and predictions of catastrophe for the nation.”

“A conference of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities, called to foster frank and open discussions of the national question, can certainly find accommodation in the extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution which guarantee freedom of expression, and of association. It is welcome.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Ekwueme, Clark, Gbonigi, others call for National Conference.


Ekwueme-Clark-Gbonigi

FORMER Vice President Alex Ekwueme, one time Federal Commissioner for Information and Ijaw Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, Reverend Emmanuel Gbonigi and others under the aegis, Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly, SNPA yesterday reiterated their support for the immediate convocation of a National Conference and called for its immediate convocation by President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to a statement signed by Dr. Alex Ekwueme (South East); Chief Edwin Clark ( South South) and Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Gbonigi (South West) yesterday, the SNPA urged President Goodluck Jonathan to before December this year set up a Committee that will work out strategies and modalities for the convocation of a National conference that will give the ethnic nationalities of Nigeria the opportunity to discuss the collective future after what they termed a “forced” marriage of 100 years remains the most rewarding centenary gift President Jonathan can give to Nigerians.

Hailing Senate President David Mark on his National Conference position who stressed that there was the need for a national conference while addressing Senators back from vacation on Tuesday, said , ” the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly welcomes the remarks made by the Senate President, Senator David Mark on the urgent need for a national conference while addressing Senators back from vacation yesterday.

The Senate President’s call that ethnic nationalities should be given the space to discuss the future of Nigeria is most germane and could not have come at a better time. We are indeed elated that the Senate President has aligned with our long held view that a conference of ethnic nationalities is imperative in correcting the enormous discontent in the Nigerian polity.

Instructively, the position of the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly in resolving burning national issues threatening the Corporate existence of the nation has been very clear.

“Since our inaugural conference at Ibom Golf and Resort Le Meridien, Uyo on 12th July, 2012 and the succeeding Conference a Nike Lake Hotel Resort, Enugu on the 29th January, 2013, the SNPA had affirmed its commitment to the convening of a national conference.

Our position was again reaffirmed in the communique issued at the end of the 3rd General Conference of the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly held on the 20th of May 2013 in Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.

“We therefore call on President Goodluck to set up a committee to work out strategies and modalities for the convocation of a national conference by not later than December 2013 giving the ethnic nationalities of Nigeria the opportunity to discuss their collective future after a “forced” marriage of 100 years the most rewarding centenary gift President Jonathan can give to Nigerians.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Job seekers Senate backs conference of ethnic nationalities.


Senate-backs

The Senate President, David Mark, yesterday said that the upper house would support a conference of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities, “called to foster frank and open discussions of the national questions.”

Mark, in a welcome address to mark the resumption of the Senate from its 2013 annual vacation, however, opposed the convocation of a sovereign national conference.

According to Mark, Senate’s backing of an ethnic conference is based on the fact that such a parley is supported by the 1999 Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression and association.

His position remarkably differs from the views of the National Patriots, comprising prominent Nigerians, as well as those of the Afenifere, a pan Yoruba socio-political organisation who have been consistently pushing for the convocation of a sovereign national conference as the basis to discuss the nation’s unity and existence.

The Senate President stated that the idea of a national conference is not without inherent and fundamental difficulties.

Chief among such difficulties, according to him, are the problem of its structure and composition, which he said will stretch the letters and spirit of the constitution and severely task the ingenuity of the nation’s constitutionalists.

“Such a conference, if and whenever convened should have only few red lines, chief among, which would be the dismemberment of the country,” Mark said.

Besides, the Senate President noted that it would be unconstitutional to clothe such a conference with constituents or sovereign powers. Unlike the national conference, Mark said that the resolutions of a national conference consisting of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities and called under the auspices of the Federal Government will carry weight.

He stated further that the National Assembly, though consisting of elected representatives of the Nigerian people will be hard put to ignore the outcome of such an ethnic national conference, even though the lawmakers may not be constitutionally bound by such resolutions or outcomes.

He noted that a conference, whether sovereign or not is not a magic wand.

He also observed that the task of nation building requires patience, faith, scrupulous honesty, diligence, dedication, sacrifice, toil, labour, assiduous application and massive investments in the future, stressing that, the heights attained by great nations were not made by sudden flights.

Meanwhile, the senate has appealed to the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to call off the ongoing strike in the interest of the Nigerian youths.

“While appreciating the tremendous merit in the case put forth by ASUU, we call on its leaders to return to class, while pragmatic negotiations to address their grievances continue,” Mark said in his welcome address to the senate.

ASUU embarked on the current strike in July, to press for the full implementation of the 2009 agreement it entered into with the Federal Government.

Despite a number of interventions by government, ASUU has refused to back down on its demands, insisting that the agreement must be implemented one hundred per cent.

Mark observed that the morass in the education sector is deeply troubling, not only because it is retarding the progress of millions of Nigerian students, but also because it arrests the intellectual development of the country, with grave consequences for the future.

He assured that the senate will invest the full weight of its moral and constitutional authority to nudge both the Federal Government and ASUU towards a comprehensive settlement that addresses, in realistic manner, the problems afflicting tertiary education in the country.

The senate also yesterday, approved the eight ambassadorial nominees sent to it by President Goodluck Jonathan, shortly before the start of the annual vacation in July.

The confirmation of the ambassador designates, who comprise six career and two none career ambassadors, followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, which screened the nominees.

The ambassador designates are Mr. O. F. Muon (Imo), Mrs. T. J. Chinquapin-Akabuogu (Anambra), Mr. Adamu Emozozo (Edo), Mr. A. Echi (Benue), Mrs. G. M. Quits-Adebiyi (Lagos) and Mr. M. Dauda (Borno).

The none career ambassador designates are Mr. Hakeem O. Suleiman (Ogun) and Dr. Bolete Ketebu (Bayelsa). President Jonathan also yesterday forwarded an additional nominee to the senate for screening and confirmation as ambassador.

The new nominee is Mr. S. U. Ahmed, a career diplomat from Gombe State

Source: Radio Biafra.

David-West and others its Sovereign National Conference or nothing.


David-West-02

Notable Nigerians are kicking against a National Conference without sovereign power advocated on Tuesday by Senate President David Mark.

Civil rights activist Shehu Sani described Mark’s suggestion as diversionary because whatever decision taken at such conference would not be binding.

He said: “Nigerians are not just asking for a conference but a sovereign one. It is not the usual conference that come out with a communiqué but a conference with a resolution that is binding on the Nigerian people.

“Right now, the country is operating under the military conference and the constitution authored by the Abacha and Abdulsalam military regimes. We need to use the opportunity of our centenary to freely discuss all issues that bother the Nigerian state, so as to strengthen our unity, democracy and enhance the wellbeing of our people.”

Social critic and political activist Prof Tam David-West shared Sani’s view. He said national conference of ethnic nationalities being suggested by Mark was not the solution to the country’s problems . David-West said: “We need a SNC where the representatives of all ethnic group would sit and freely discuss on how we relate with one another, do we still want to remain as a country and what type of government do we want.

“We should not run away from the truth, we should come to a round table conference to discuss our differences and the structural distortions in the polity. Whatever decisions taken at such conference become sacrosanct like the Bible and the Qur’an.”

Constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Prof Itse Sagay said Mark needs some education about why the conference must be sovereign.

He said: “If it is National Conference without sovereign powers, it is okay, it is a good development. Though, Sovereign National Conference is preferable. It is assembly of Nigerians to discuss issues and come up with the best possible means of addressing and proffer solutions to Nigeria’s problems. There is no need for us to hold a conference that its decision would not be binding.

He said the conference should address: the issue of ideology, that is, what should be the ideological direction of Nigeria; the relationship between the federating units as regards issues of economy and political power distribution, production of a new constitution for the country and the issue of social welfare programme for Nigerians.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Job seekers Senate backs conference of ethnic nationalities.


Senate-backs

The Senate President, David Mark, yesterday said that the upper house would support a conference of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities, “called to foster frank and open discussions of the national questions.”

Mark, in a welcome address to mark the resumption of the Senate from its 2013 annual vacation, however, opposed the convocation of a sovereign national conference.

According to Mark, Senate’s backing of an ethnic conference is based on the fact that such a parley is supported by the 1999 Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression and association.

His position remarkably differs from the views of the National Patriots, comprising prominent Nigerians, as well as those of the Afenifere, a pan Yoruba socio-political organisation who have been consistently pushing for the convocation of a sovereign national conference as the basis to discuss the nation’s unity and existence.

The Senate President stated that the idea of a national conference is not without inherent and fundamental difficulties.

Chief among such difficulties, according to him, are the problem of its structure and composition, which he said will stretch the letters and spirit of the constitution and severely task the ingenuity of the nation’s constitutionalists.

“Such a conference, if and whenever convened should have only few red lines, chief among, which would be the dismemberment of the country,” Mark said.

Besides, the Senate President noted that it would be unconstitutional to clothe such a conference with constituents or sovereign powers. Unlike the national conference, Mark said that the resolutions of a national conference consisting of Nigeria’s ethnic nationalities and called under the auspices of the Federal Government will carry weight.

He stated further that the National Assembly, though consisting of elected representatives of the Nigerian people will be hard put to ignore the outcome of such an ethnic national conference, even though the lawmakers may not be constitutionally bound by such resolutions or outcomes.

He noted that a conference, whether sovereign or not is not a magic wand.

He also observed that the task of nation building requires patience, faith, scrupulous honesty, diligence, dedication, sacrifice, toil, labour, assiduous application and massive investments in the future, stressing that, the heights attained by great nations were not made by sudden flights.

Meanwhile, the senate has appealed to the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to call off the ongoing strike in the interest of the Nigerian youths.

“While appreciating the tremendous merit in the case put forth by ASUU, we call on its leaders to return to class, while pragmatic negotiations to address their grievances continue,” Mark said in his welcome address to the senate.

ASUU embarked on the current strike in July, to press for the full implementation of the 2009 agreement it entered into with the Federal Government.

Despite a number of interventions by government, ASUU has refused to back down on its demands, insisting that the agreement must be implemented one hundred per cent.

Mark observed that the morass in the education sector is deeply troubling, not only because it is retarding the progress of millions of Nigerian students, but also because it arrests the intellectual development of the country, with grave consequences for the future.

He assured that the senate will invest the full weight of its moral and constitutional authority to nudge both the Federal Government and ASUU towards a comprehensive settlement that addresses, in realistic manner, the problems afflicting tertiary education in the country.

The senate also yesterday, approved the eight ambassadorial nominees sent to it by President Goodluck Jonathan, shortly before the start of the annual vacation in July.

The confirmation of the ambassador designates, who comprise six career and two none career ambassadors, followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, which screened the nominees.

The ambassador designates are Mr. O. F. Muon (Imo), Mrs. T. J. Chinquapin-Akabuogu (Anambra), Mr. Adamu Emozozo (Edo), Mr. A. Echi (Benue), Mrs. G. M. Quits-Adebiyi (Lagos) and Mr. M. Dauda (Borno).

The none career ambassador designates are Mr. Hakeem O. Suleiman (Ogun) and Dr. Bolete Ketebu (Bayelsa). President Jonathan also yesterday forwarded an additional nominee to the senate for screening and confirmation as ambassador.

The new nominee is Mr. S. U. Ahmed, a career diplomat from Gombe State.

Source: Radio Biafra.

PDP lawmakers exchange blows.


PDP-lawmakers

The House of Representatives erupted into chaos yesterday as the visit of the Alhaji Kawu Baraje-led New People’s Democratic Party, nPDP, National Working Committee, NWC, and the dissenting seven governors ended in fisticuffs.

The fight erupted among the pro-Baraje and pro-Tukur members of the House.

The National Chairman of the ‘old PDP’, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, who was scheduled to brief the House, was forced to call off his scheduled visit to avoid a clash with the Baraje-led PDP members.

The Barajeled members in the House yesterday claimed that they had risen to 108 from 57 members, their leader, Hon. Andrew Uchendu (nPDPRivers) said.

The storm started on the floor immediately after the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, read a letter from the New PDP signed by the National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, announcing the planned visit of Baraje, the NWC and the aggrieved governors to address the House’s PDP caucus.

The announcement caused disagreement in the House as both the ‘old’ and ‘new’ PDP members engaged one another in a shouting march. For over 20 minutes, the chamber was tense with expletives as lawmakers hurled expletives at each others with some leaving their seats to clusters around the Speaker, his deputy and other principal officers to either protest or welcome the Baraje team.

As soon as nerves became calm, Tambuwal explained that the leadership of the House decided to welcome both Baraje and Tukur at their behest only for Tukur to withdraw his letter of request later. “I think I need to make two points clear.

One, there was a communication from our leader, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, on the same issue; he wanted to come and address the PDP caucus. Now, Tukur withdrew his letter only this morning and I couldn’t have read his letter having withdrawn it. “The whole thing is, we are not going to receive them on the floor.

He (Baraje) will address us at 3p.m. in Room 028 new building.” Baraje eventually arrived at 3.47p.m. where Tambuwal and the House leadership were already seated to receive the factional leader. He was accompanied by the seven rebel governors, members of his NWC and some senators.

But shortly after the proceedings commenced, Hon. Henry Ofongo (old PDP- Bayelsa) along with Hon. Patrick Asadu (old PDP- Enugu), Hon. Kingsley Chinda (old PDP-Rivers), Hon. Betty Appiafi (old PDPRivers) and other pro-Tukur members came into the hall, shouting ‘point of order’, ‘no way’, ‘Bamanga is our man’ and ‘Na Bamanga we know,’ as commotion enveloped the hall.

This angered the pro-Baraje lawmakers led by Hon. Aminu Suleiman and Hon. Asita Honourable as they grabbed Ofongo by the collars, attempted to gag him and stop him from proceeding to where Baraje, the governors and other members of his entourage were seated.

The commotion that ensued lasted for almost 20 minutes as the pro-Tukur lawmakers, made up of Bethel Amadi (old PDPImo), Friday Itulah (old PDP-Edo), Betty Apiafi (old PDP-Rivers), Bitrus Kaze (old PDP-Plateau), Samson Okwu (old PDP-Benue), Tijanni Yusuf (old PDP-Kogi), Kingsley Chinda (old PDPRivers) and others disrupted proceedings at the meeting.

However, House Leader, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, went ahead with her welcome remarks, saying that she hoped the visit would serve as the beginning of the resolution of the crisis in the party.

Tambuwal said democracy could only prosper with a strong democratic culture, adding that “democracy belongs to all Nigerians and not the politicians alone so they should refrain from heating up the system.”

But the pro-Tukur lawmakers continued shouting throughout as Baraje addressed the gathering. Leader of the New PDP House caucus, Hon. Andrew Uchendu, told journalists after the event that the action of the pro-Tukur lawmakers was characteristic of “the impunity and lawlessness associated with Tukur and his exco”.

He said they were the authentic PDP as their membership had risen to 108, thus controlling the majority in the House.

Uchendu said despite series of meetings between the factions, “there is no ceasefire,” and that the war between the factions would continue. Tambuwal cautioned politicians to shun comments capable of heating the polity.

“We must abstain from making comments capable of heating the polity unnecessarily. I want to caution that Nigerians need a peaceful atmosphere to conduct their businesses,” he said.

He also enjoined politicians to place national interest above personal interest. “Let us therefore make conscious effort to allow national interest take the driving seat and not our personal ambitions”.

According to him, members of the House are concerned about the development in the country, especially the face-off within the PDP.

He noted that the development had exposed the status of culture of intra-party democracy and inter-party intolerance.

The Speaker said that democracy could only flourish where there were strong political parties and well developed institutions and an enduring democratic culture.

Earlier, the members had unanimously passed a vote of confidence on Tambuwal and his leadership dispelling rumours of impeachment and reaffirming their unity.

This followed a motion under matters of urgent national importance sponsored by Hon. Kingsley Chinda (old PDP-Rivers) and supported by Hon. Uzor Azubuike (old PDP- Abia).

The Baraje-led PDP was also in the Senate yesterday where they had an audience with the Senate President, David Mark who counselled the splinter group not to continue to stoke crisis within the PDP but to make peace with the leadership of the party so that the party would return to its old family status. Mark, who spoke while responding to the address of Baraje, also pledged his loyalty to the Tukur-led PDP.

He also assured that he would not allow the crisis in the party to filter into the National Assembly, stressing that the legislators as the representatives of the people of Nigeria should not be involved in unnecessary political crisis.

All the seven splinter governors of Rivers, Adamawa, Kano, Jigawa, Kwara, Kano, Sokoto and Niger states [Rotimi Amaechi, Murtala Nyako, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido, Abdufatah Ahmed, Aliyu Wamakko and Aliyu Babangida, respectively] were on the visit. Mark said: “I will remain in PDP. I will not allow this house to fall on anybody. Dialogue will always bring progress.

There is need for this dialogue and meetings for us to exchange ideas. “My prayer is to have a united National Assembly and this unity should translate into the two chambers.

I have not declared any seat vacant and I am not prepared to declare any. I will support fairness, justice and equity. “Whatever happens, we should remain one PDP.

We should not pour fuel when there is fire burning. We all admit that there is problem and we are out to solve them.” In an address, Baraje stated that PDP had in recent times started declining in its democratic image.

This, he said, is mainly due to lack of internal democracy as a result of undue interference of the Presidency, especially as it concerns the election of national officers, which has affected the quality and style of leadership that now takes pride in illegal dissolutions of state party structures and other acts of impunity.

He said it was in line with this that some governors, former governors, some party elders and indeed, members of the National Assembly decided to act to rescue the party from undemocratic tendencies and by extension, save the country from collapse.

Baraje said most of these issues, which included the crisis of the Rivers PDP, the suspension of Governor Amaechi from the party, the election of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, the unconstitutional dissolution of the Adamawa State Executive Committee of the party and the exclusion of important stakeholders from the running of the party and government have already been reported to Tukur and President Jonathan, but unfortunately, no serious action has been taken towards correcting the anomalies.

In a related development, Senator Mark has criticized the activities of those he described political jobbers, sycophants and hustlers who stoke unnecessary tension within the nation’s polity two years before the 2015 elections, describing such situations as unnecessary and avoidable distraction.

While urging restraints by all Nigerians, the Senate President called on his colleagues as elected representatives of the Nigerian people to rise up to the occasion and act as stabilisers of the polity.

In a welcome address to the senate yesterday, Mark regretted that, “It is disheartening that even though the general elections of 2015 are two years away, political jobbers, sycophants and hustlers have prematurely seized the political space, and are being allowed to set the tone of the national discourse,” stressing that, “This is an unnecessary and avoidable distraction by characters or hirelings who are desperately in search of relevance.”

He noted that unfortunately, such people, “employ every weapon, including threats of war and open sabre-rattling to advance their partisan causes. I am therefore compelled to urge restraint and call on all putative contestants to various political positions in 2015 to advise themselves and call their various supporters to order.”

According to the Senate President, “Political jobbers and warmongers do not serve anybody’s interest but theirs. They exploit our collective fears and fan the embers of hatred, acrimony and division.”

Mark called on the security agencies to take any threat bordering on treason very seriously and thoroughly investigate such and take appropriate measures irrespective of who the culprits are.

He noted that the greatest legacy, “we can bequeath to posterity is to collectively build a Nigeria that is more functional, more dynamic, more peaceful and more democratic.”

Mark urged that the objective of all Nigerians should be to build a nation whose unity is an article of faith based on equity, fairness, justice and equal opportunity; a nation where injustice to one is injustice to all.

He observed that national redemption requires renewed and concerted focus on governance at all levels, in every tier, stressing that, “concerted focus on governance entails keen and constructive engagement between all the arms of government.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

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