The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Friday urged the Nigerian political class to continue to engage to make the country a better place.
Lawan spoke in Abuja at the 2021 Democracy Dialogue organised by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation with the theme: “Democracy and Unity of the State.”
The Senate President was full of praises for former President Goodluck Jonathan for his activities while outside office especially for promoting unity in Nigeria and the growth of democracy both within and outside the country.
“At the risk of sounding repetitive, I want to add here, very categorically, that, Sir, you are a man of peace. Sir, You believe in Nigeria. You believe in the unity of this country and what can be more testifying is your engagement outside office.
“After you left office in 2015, you have decided to work for the unity of this country, to work with the leadership of this country, to ensure that Nigeria remains united. That we remain focus as a people and of course, what can be more apt than what we have here today.
“The theme of today’s dialogue, Democracy and the Unity of the State. It may be pan African but charity begins at home sir.
“There are many of us here who are not of the PDP group or party. And to me, it’s a clear testimony of one fact, that you are a uniter. That we believe that you mean well for this country and it is so. And for those of us who believe that, we will always identify with you and your cause.
“The political class, as far as I’m concerned, is a clan. It doesn’t matter which political party you belong to. It’s a clan and that clan must ensure that we continue to unite. That we continue to engage to make this country better.
“It doesn’t matter who is in the office because we have to have a country in the first place before election can be conducted. What you are doing, Your Excellency, is to show example of what our leaders can do outside office after their service. Only God knows what will happen tomorrow but you have given a very good account of yourself.
“When you were President, I was in the opposition. Sir, I supported many of your policies and of course, I opposed those that I felt I should oppose. My belief is, and many of us out there, you have domonstrated very clearly that this country can be great. How? It can be great if the political class decides to be selfless, decides to be honest.
“And I will like to make reference to a statement by our keynote speaker, Professor Abdoulaye Bathily when he concluded his address by saying we need a peaceful and strong Nigeria.
“That’s true. How do we achieve that? We can achieve that if we continue to have this kind of leadership. Whether in office or out of office, we have that responsibility, that obligation to give Nigerians the sense of decent citizenship wherever they are, whatever they are and wherever they chose to be in this country.
“When you have a marriage bedevilled by suspicion, that marriage is likely to suffer a bit. What we need to do is to behave like you Sir. As leaders, be open to all manners of people especially those that we lead.
“That we don’t allow suspicion between us. When political leaders allow for suspicion between and among themselves, the outcome is the grassroots or the ethnic nationalities will behave the same way.
“Today, I theresay sir, our major problem, among many, will be the suspicion between the different ethnic groups otherwise why will someone care or bother where the President comes from. Let the President come from anywhere.
“What we need is leadership that will give sense to the people, provide everything within the constraint of resources that the people need.
“We shouldn’t care but when we suspect each other, that’s when people crawl back to their ethnic enclaves and you are doing quite the reverse of that. You are helping Nigeria democracy to grow by the day,” Lawan said.
Minister urges labour unions not to shut down power supply
The Federal Ministry of Power has urged labour unions not to go through with their threat to shut down power supply in the Federal Capital Territory and other states.
This was contained in a statement by the Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jedy Agba.
The statement reads:
“The attention of the Federal Ministry of Power has been drawn to a threat by a section of Labour unions in the power sector, to the effect that it would shut down power supply in the Federal Capital Territory and beyond.
“That union is anchoring this threat on a situation in the ownership tussle of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), which has made the company fail in some responsibilities to workers.
“We are also aware that the Unions in the sector have been part of the solution to this problem and therefore know the facts and stage of the efforts towards solving the problem, as far as workers rights are concerned.
“We also note that such problems are not peculiar to the AEDC. The Federal Ministry of Power, therefore, calls on the Union to be cautious and responsible to avoid endangering the fragile state of our electricity infrastructure which the present Government is working hard to strengthen.
“It is also worthy of note that Labour matters have a procedure to address them and the unions are enjoined to follow due process to pursue its legitimate right. Doing the contrary, have other consequences including economic sabotage and related offences.
“The Federal Ministry of Power has taken up the leadership of efforts to engage relevant stakeholders including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to resolve this problem very soon.
“All Nigerians are hereby enjoined to be alert as we plead with the aggrieved unions to toe the line of peace and dialogue.
Lagos APC Faction Defects To PDP
A faction within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, ‘Lagos4Lagos Movement’, has defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The faction, which is headed by Olajide Adediran, defected to the PDP at an event held in Lagos on Saturday.
On hand to receive the defectors into the PDP was Bukola Saraki, a former Senate president and ex-Kwara State governor.
The Lagos4Lagos Movement has been critical of the reign and stronghold of APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu, saying no one has the right to impose governors and political office holders in the state.
The Adediran faction had in September 2021 held a parallel local government congress at different locations in the state, condemning the leadership of the party in the state for adopting consensus as the option for electing ward executives.
It had alleged impunity, imposition and marginalisation in the party for its action but the congress of the movement was not recognised by the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee.
In a video posted on his Facebook page, Saraki called for a voice vote on the group’s defection from APC to PDP.
“Those in favour that Lagos4Lagos should move to PDP say ‘aye’,” Saraki said, calling for a vote in the manner done at plenary at the senate.
Members of the group chorused “aye” in response and Saraki said, “the ayes have it”.
He, however, did not ask if any members were against defecting to PDP.
White Paper Review Of Lagos #EndSARS Panel Report Illegal, Says Falana
Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, has described the White Paper produced by the Lagos State government from the state’s Judicial Panel of Inquiry into the Lekki Toll Gate shooting as illegal.
Falana, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), made his stance known in a statement on Friday.
The Lagos State government on Tuesday released its White Paper of the panel’s report, which was submitted to Babajde Sanwo-Olu, the state governor, on 15 November.
The panel had in its report stated that nine persons were killed during the #EndSARS protest at the toll gate on October 20, 2020, adding that the action of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force on the night could be equated to a massacre.
However, the state government dismissed the findings of the panel, describing the report of deaths as “assumptions and speculations”.
The government also faulted the duplication of names and details in the report, saying it created contradictions, as well as “doubts and gaps”.
But speaking on the development, Falana said the White Paper committee set up by Governor Sanwo-Olu lacked the legal backing and competence to edit, modify, alter or reject the report of the commission.
Citing section 15 (2) of the Tribunals of Inquiry Law of Lagos State, Falana said the report of the judicial panel is as effective as a judgment of the Lagos state high court, thus its findings can only be challenged in a competent court.
He wrote: “When the government set up a White Paper committee a fortnight ago, I questioned its legal validity. It was my view that since the committee is unknown to law, the members were not competent to edit, modify, alter, edit or reject the report of the commission, more so, that the members of White Paper committee did not have the opportunity of taking evidence from the witnesses who had testified before the commission.
“I argued further than that the governor cannot reject the report, summary of evidence and findings of the Okuwobi Judicial Commission in any material particular.
“I am not unaware that it is the practice of governments to issue a white paper on the report of a commission of inquiry. But since there is no provision for a White Paper under the law the Lagos state government is bound by the findings and recommendations of the Panel.
“Therefore, any institution and individual indicted by the commission may wish to approach the High Court to challenge any aspect of the report. Since the White Paper committee is illegal its findings are of no moment.
“By insisting that only one person was killed at the Lekki Toll Gate, the writers of the White Paper contradicted an earlier statement by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu that two people were killed following a violent attack on peaceful protesters by Nigerian soldiers.”
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