Saturday, February 16, 2019
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UGO ALARIBE, Aba
Ahead of the forthcoming National Convention of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); a group, South East Progressives Assembly (SEPA) has thrown its support for Chief Emeka Diwe.
The group said it has started mobilizing support for the candidacy of Chief Diwe as the national chairman of the party.

EMMANUEL AWARI, Jalingo
The national and state assembly election petition tribunal has received additional petitions in Taraba State.
The tribunal’s secretary, Alaba Ariyo said that 13 House of Assembly petitions in addition to the earlier petitions of five on Senate and four on House of Representatives brought the number of petitions so far received by the tribunal in the state to 22.

Tambuwal, PDP chieftains defect to APC, give reasons
 MUSA BABA AHMED, Abuja

Consideration of the Ad-hoc Committee’s report on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was suspended yesterday following series of observations raised by lawmakers on legal technicalities of the clauses considered.

Anticipating the deadlock, the Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal had before the consideration called for a closed session at 12: 50pm with a view to agree on a common ground before the report could be considered.

In what seemed like a failure to reach an understanding, the House returned to plenary by 1: 33pm but could not resume proceedings until 1:45pm as members were traversing the length and breadth of the chamber even as the Speaker read the notice urging the Chief Whip who chaired the Ad-hoc Committee to move for the consideration.

Of the 368-page document made up of 312 sections, only section 1 was attempted as issues arose questioning the validity of some clauses relative to provisions of the constitution.

Deputy Leader of the House, Hon. Leo Ogor was the first to raise an observation on clause 2 which deals with ownership of resources, saying that; ”an Act of the National Assembly must not be subjected to addition or subtraction from the view expressed by the constitution regarding protection of territorial waters of Nigeria and mineral resources therein.”

He argued that the provision of the clause is purely a duplication of the constitution and should be deleted.

This was upheld by Deputy Speaker in chair, Emeka Ihedioha who called on the Chairman of the Rules and Business Committee, Hon. Albert Sam Tsokwa for a second opinion.

Sam Tsokwa in his view held that the clause cannot stand due to its inconsistency with a provision of the constitution which he said has already taken care of the subject matter.

On his part, Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who took his originally allotted seat in the chamber to participate in the proceedings punctured both views as held by Ogor and Tsokwa.

“I was expecting Sam Tsokwa to show the contradiction as to where and how the clause runs contrary to the constitution; but he did not do that which confirms that it does not in any way contradict the constitution”, Tambuwal submitted.

Also in the argument, Chairman House Committee on Justice, Ali Ahmad opined that ownership with respect to mineral resources cannot be said to be a blanket under which Petroleum resources found in certain communities with attendant negative effects should be classified, since it’s not only in deep sea that the resources are explored.

The clause was suspended following Chairman Ihedioha’s advice that Committee members meet with those who have issues with the clause and straighten out areas of disagreement in consultation with the said constitutional provision.

Another fault line was clause 6 which deals with the powers of the Petroleum minister to chair boards of agencies under the Ministry and make recommendations to the President on issues of appointments as well as perform inspectorate functions came under scrutiny.

While some members argued that the powers of the minister are too enormous under the provision and must be cut down, others said the powers should remain enabling the minister to exercise inspectorate oversight over the industry since the President as a politician may not be well grounded in the technicalities of the sector and should not be burdened with responsibilities he can delegate.

At this point, Ihedioha expressed the belief that “allowing the president to assume the inspectorate role of the Ministry is whittling down his status and reducing him to performing the role of appointees which will not be justifiable”.

The clause was eventually passed following a question for voice votes which adopted its provision upon an amendment.

Another contentious area was clause 7 which also came under question given its alleged contradiction of section 305 of the constitution because it deals with matters of state of emergency in the oil sector with powers vested on the minister to suggest or advise the President on the need to declare same in the event of industrial crisis.

Deputy Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila and Ayo Omidira also questioned the rationale behind a law that would take the powers of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to counsel the President on emergency issue of security implication and vest same on a cabinet minister, saying that emergency is devoid of all connotations except national security.

With that, the session was brought to an end as the Hon. Sam Tsokwa called for adjournment to allow the Ad-hoc Committee remedies contentious areas identified.

The motion was carried by a voice vote with further consideration adjourned till Thursday.

,PAULETTE ORJIME, writes that the conduct of  Nigerians  during the 2015 general elections has enhanced the country’s image as a democratic nation.

Many people are still astonished that the 2015 presidential election has come and gone without any friction or violence. This is because prior to the general elections, a number of people were pessimistic about the unity of the country after the polls.

Since the incumbent Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji who has occupied the seat for ten years will not return to the 8th Assembly, a member, representing Lagos Mainland II who is the Chairman, House Committee on Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Olanrewaju Moshood Oshun is one of the contenders for the position. In this interview with our correspondent, IBRAHIM KADIRI, Oshun gives an insight into what the leadership of the incoming Assembly should entail. Excerpt: 

INNOCENT OKONKWO

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos State chapter has described the purported sack of its chairman, Capt. Tunji Shelle (rtd), as laughable, null and void.
The party in a statement signed by its publicity secretary, Mr. Taofik Gani and made available to Daily Champion yesterday urged its members to discountenance the alleged sack. The statement also advised those behind the preposterous action to retrace their steps and allow peace to reign in the party.

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