President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has advised Nigerian leaders not to ignore concerns by any part of the country decrying the marginalisation of its peoples.
He warned that doing so would only decimate their patriotism and erect walls of division among the country’s regions, as well as further inflame calls for secession.
Lawan, gave the warning on Wednesday, in an address delivered at the presentation of a book titled, “Foundations of Nigeria’s Unity.”
The book was authored by Senator representing Cross Rivers Central and Governorship Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in Cross River State, Sandy Onor.
The Senate President was a special guest at the event which held at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.
Speaking, he said, “There is no part of this country that does not cry about marginalisation from time to time, but, I think, some of these tendencies of pull-away are centrifugal tendencies created by the elites.
“It is our duty as leaders to look into those genuine calls when our citizens complain.
“Where we find justifications, we shouldn’t shy away from addressing those calls to make our citizens more patriotic.
“It is a proven fact, as the book argues, that nations are made by men and women, by peoples and communities, who are painstaking in efforts at staying as one, and harnessing their diversities for greatness.
“This process has been the hallmark of nations in history, which is why some of the greatest nations on planet earth are neither completely homogenous nor heterogeneous.
“They have moved on to higher levels by deliberately working on their diversities, and making the best out of it through resolves, regulations and the instrument of good governance.
“Growth and development are neither a function of the commonality of culture nor the disparities in traditions.
“Progress comes through the determination of a people to stay together, leveraging on the vision and mission of the constitution and the leadership.
“Calls for separation are therefore inimical to efforts at nation-building, especially if the consequences of this are put into proper perspective.
“It is the reason we often desire a good understanding of history for all to be better guided in our calls and agitations.
“Distinguished Senator Onor has provided a thorough understanding through this intellectual analysis, focusing on the past to interpret our present, and concluding that our heterogeneity can be a foundation for unity.
“This patriotic and nationalistic effort is a step in the right direction, in the bid to expand our knowledge of nationhood, such that our challenges would not be seen as unusual and insurmountable.”
2024 Appropriation Bill scales 2nd reading in Senate
The N27.5trillion 2024 Appropriation Bill on Friday scaled through second reading at the Senate.
The followed debates by lawmakers on the general principles of the bill at plenary.
Sen. Adams Oshiomole (APC -Edo) said there was need for appropriations to be made for the completion of the Benin-Auchi Road,saying that the road was a major link connecting Nigerians from the six zones of the country.
He said the completion of the road would help to improve economic activities in the country.
He said it was not for the Senate to be debating exchange rate, saying that determinants of exchange rate was a matter of micro economic policies.
Sen.Franchis Fadahunsi (PDP-Osun), who commended the 2024 budget, said there was need for the masses to benefit from the content of the budget on implementation.
He called for allocation of more funds to ensure completion of roads in in Osun and other parts of the country.
Sen.Enyinnaya Abaribe(APGA-Abia)said not much was allocated to power as information indicated that less than 3 per cent was allocated to power in the budget.
He said power was key to employment generation and optimal workings of other sectors and the economy in general.
He said the Senate would have to re-order the priorities of the budget for direct impact on the economy.
Sen. Aba Moro(PDP-Benue) said allocation to education should be based on UNESCO provisions, given the challenges in the education sector.
Former President of Senate, Ahmad lawan commended President Tinubu for the budget.
He said the success of any administration was based on the support the legislature, saying that the National Assembly must continue to support the President.
He called on the senate committees to be interested on what happened on the implementation of previous budgets of 2021,2022,2023 both supplementary and main budget.
Lawan said emphasis must be placed on having secured and safe environment for schools to function, and provision of enabling peace in Niger-Delta.
He called for prioritisation of security in 2024 budget, saying that security was key in attaining the required economic activities.
Deputy President of Senate, Barau Jubril, shortly after the 2024 Appropriation Bill scaled second reading refered the bill to the Committee of Appropriations.
The committee was to return it back to plenary on Dec.19 for further legislative input on the bill.
Nasarawa Assembly elects new speaker, deputy
Nasarawa State House of Assembly on Friday elected Danladi Jatau (APC – Kokona West), as the new speaker of the Assembly.
The emergence of the new speaker followed the Appeal Court judgment, which nullified of the election of the former Speaker, Alh. Ibrahim Abdullahi on Nov. 28.
The House also elected Mohammed Oyanki (PDP-Doma North) as its new deputy speaker.
The duo were elected unopposed by members of the legislature.
Mr Ibrahim Musa, the Acting Clerk of the House announced the result during an emergency plenary in Lafia.
Alh. Suleiman Azara (APC- Awe South) nominated Jatau for the position of speaker, which was seconded by Larry Ven- Bawa (APC- Akwanga North).
Mr Solomon Akwashiki (SDP- Lafia Central) nominated Mr Mohammed Oyanki, (PDP – Doma North) for the position of Deputy Speaker and seconded by Hajiya Hajara Danyaro (APC- Nasarawa Central).
The clerk, thereafter, swore in Jatau and Oyanki as speaker and deputy speaker respectively.
Jatau, in his acceptance speech, thanked the members for the confidence reposed in him to lead the 7th assembly.
He promised to promote unity among members of the Assembly for robust legislation for the overall development of the State.
The new speaker also pledged effective collaboration with the executive arm of government in order to ensure that the people continue to feel the impact of democracy in the state.
Imo LP accuses INEC of defying court order for BVAS inspection
The Labour Party in Imo has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of denying it access to inspect the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine (BVAS) used for the November 11 Governorship poll.
The state Chairman of the party, Mr Callistus Ihejiagwa, made the accusation at a news briefing in Owerri on Friday.
Ihejiagwa said that the denial of access to the BVAS was in defiance to the November 26 order of the Election Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Owerri.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that applications for the inspection of the materials were submitted to the INEC by the LP, PDP, YPP and APGA, respectively.
The tribunal had, on November 26, given INEC until December 1, to make election materials available to the LP for inspection and forensic analysis.
Ihejiagwa also said that the forensic inspection of election materials, including the BVAS, was part of the order of the tribunal.
According to him, INEC had, on Wednesday, denied availability of the BVAS for inspection, insisting that only the commission’s headquarters reserved the right to grant access to the BVAS for inspection.
He said that the commission, however, made available only 65 of over 5,000 BVAS machines for inspection and denied the LP’s team of forensic experts access to the machines.
He wondered why INEC would “deliberately frustrate the process of litigation” in an election where it was only an umpire.
“Contrary to the orders of court for forensic analysis of BVAS machines, an INEC official is reading out figures of accreditation from the machines without allowing us access to Certified True Copies of the card copies for our own due diligence.
“We have less than 24 hours to examine the BVAS machines, assemble and present our findings to the tribunal but here we are still awaiting access to the machines
“The tribunal ordered for forensic inspection of the BVAS so the BVAS is specifically contained in the tribunal order,” Ihejiagwa said.
Also, Mr Okwudili Anozie, the Counsel for the LP Governorship Candidate, Sen. Athan Achonu, saud that the tribunal’s order for forensic examination of the BVAS machines would help ensure that the machines were not tampered with before and after the election.
He decried INEC’s disobedience to the order and restated the party’s confidence in the judiciary for the dispensation of justice.
INEC’S Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Mrs Emmanuella Ben-Opara, on Tuesday, confirmed that the materials requested for inspection were ready and waiting to be inspected.
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