Lawan: Buhari, is an excellent President *Opposition can’t determine leadership of NASS
On the sidelines of the Sallah homage by FCT residents to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja on the backdrop of the Eid el-Fitr festivities, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, shares his insight on the twilight days of the current administration, in this interview with State House Correspondents. Excerpts:
What are your thoughts on this year’s Eid el-Fitr celebrations?
It was a very historic, memorable Eid el-Fitr celebration visit to our outgoing President. And the takeaway is this president has served Nigeria so far, for over seven and a half years. And he did tremendously well. The Buhari administration is closing on a very strong note. We have succeeded in reducing, minimising the insecurity that we met in 2015. This administration has provided so much infrastructure across the country, like no other administration did before. This administration, this President, particularly, assented to legislation more than any previous Presidents, especially in the last four years. And we are so proud of this administration, that we have been able to achieve so much, and therefore, it is a thing of joy for all of us to come and celebrate with Mr. President, the Eid el-Fitr today, Friday.
And I want to also add here that the multitude of people from the FCT, those who actually came to see the President and congratulate him, showed the kind of unity that we have in the FCT, people from all walks of life. And of course, the rest of us who are supportive of what the President was supposed to do here came to show our gratitude in another way that we are really happy with the way we have been able to be part and parcel of this administration. The very positive manner is really the ninth National Assembly.
We have done so much to support that administration and the government, and we are so proud of our achievement as an administration. That is what the legislature and the executive arm of government [achieved] and this President will go home by the grace of God after the 29th of May, 2023 a very satisfied person. But of course, there are things that we have not been able to do well. The new administration of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu will come in and its going to be a continuity with those areas that we’ve gotten well, and those areas that we have not been able to get well, we’ll rework them. We’ll retool them, we’ll kindle them and ensure that we continue with the progressive APC administration.
It is one administration, it’s one government, so to speak, and we’re proud to be part of everything that has happened in the last seven and a half years.
What in particular would you say the government has done well?
Infrastructure. You tell me, is there any part of Nigeria that today does not have one infrastructural development or the other? The South-East has the Second Niger Bridge. The Second Niger bridge was something that defied all the previous administrations, right from 1999, when President Obasanjo held sway. Then late Yar’Adua of blessed memory, then Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. All the PDP administrations came. They went there, they said they broke ground, or [did] groundbreaking, but that was where it stopped. Nothing else happened until the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came. Like a joke, people thought it was going to be the same thing. But we have proven everybody wrong.
So, any regrets?
No, no, no, you can’t say regrets. We can only say there are things that we have not been able to satisfactorily deal with. And this is natural, because, one, we don’t have sufficient funds. Two, as human beings, there are areas that, naturally, whatever you do, you may not get it right. But it’s for us to identify those areas, go back and rework them. And this administration, as it winds up a new one, an APC administration is coming in to take over and by the grace of God, it will have a National Assembly that is also APC. So, we will continue to work on those areas that we need to improve. So, I am not going to talk about what areas because the time we have here is very limited.
Regarding the Senate Presidency, are you not going to contest?
I’m not here to answer whether I’m running for Senate President or not.
Okay, well, you’ve praised the administration and the Ninth Assembly for the bills that you’ve passed. However, in the Ninth Assembly, the women’s bills were thrown out. How do you feel about that? And your party is worried about the leadership of the 10th National Assembly? Or are you saying you are not worried?
First of all, when the bills, five of them that concern women, were not voted for by the National Assembly, I think naturally, there are things that we assume could happen. But they didn’t happen the way we wanted them. But remember that even bills that concern the National Assembly were killed. There are bills that concern the National Assembly itself that did not see the light of the day. I felt bad that we could not pass even one. But then we shouldn’t really lose hope, we should continue to campaign. We should talk to more and more members of the National Assembly. And we should also re-strategise. The kind of campaign that was undertaken may not be necessarily the one that will give you the kind of outcome that we needed. But I’m very confident that we should continue to campaign for issues that we have not been able to get right.
Let me give you an example. The mayor for FCT, almost every constitutional amendment period, the mayor of FCT [proposal] will surface. But it has not been passed. Does that mean that we shouldn’t continue to ask for a mayor for FCT, those that feel there should be a mayor? No!
And there are issues that concerned the National Assembly itself that were not really passed. So, I felt bad that we couldn’t pass any of them. But I’m also very optimistic that if we restrategise, look at the way we campaign, we could get either all of them or some of them passed in the next assembly by the grace of God.
The party is not in trouble. This is today’s Sallah, and by the grace of God, and most of those people who have travelled for either Umrrah or one reason or the other will be back in the country, including our president-elect, and I’m sure that our leaders will come together and decide how the leadership of the 10th National Assembly will emerge.
I’m very confident that the APC members and senators-elect will respect whatever our party and our leaders will eventually come up with. We are praying that we are able to deal with it as decisively as possible, and then keep ourselves united and work together with other parties. We have been able to work together with other parties in the Ninth Assembly in a very bipartisan way, smoothly and seamlessly. And I believe that we can repeat that. And it is very, very essential that we have a very united National Assembly. And I’m very confident that we will do that.
Are you not worried the opposition will take over, given the configuration?
I don’t think opposition parties are planning to usurp because it is presumptuous that the APC will not be a united party. APC is a united party and the opposition party will simply work with the APC majority for us to have stability, because there is no way an opposition will decide who should be the Senate President, who should be the speaker. It is our party and other leaders that will decide which zone or whoever, and the rest of us in the party will key in and of course the opposition would have no option but to support.
I don’t see anything wrong in the opposition talking to us, or we’re talking to the opposition to ensure that we’re on the same page, because we need the opposition to ensure that we get most of our constitutional amendments, when the time is right, passed — because we can’t have the 73 in the Senate. You need 73 senators at least for you to have any constitutional amendment. So, you would need the opposition. That’s why it is very, very critical. It is very essential that you work with the opposition right from the beginning. Don’t ever think the opposition should be pushed away. I don’t believe in that, I only believe in the very bipartisan chamber because it is more productive. It is more stable, it’s calm, and it gives you the kind of outcome that you will never get with a very rancourous chamber. And I’ve seen it, we have done it.
Culled from Channels TV
BREAKING: All clear for Tinubu! S’Court dismisses PDP’s double nomination suit *Says, PDP a busy-body
For being a meddlesome interloper and a busy-body in bringing a case that was none of its business, the Supreme Court, on Friday slammed a N2million fine on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over its suit demanding that the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 presidential election be vitiated.
The main opposition party, had claimed that Kashim Shettima, being a candidate in a Senatorial election in Borno and as well as the running mate to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate in the election, amounted to double Nomination, which is forbidden by the law.
Based on that, the prayed the apex court to declare the ticket null and void and the votes recorded for it in the election, through which they were declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), wasted, a prayer, which if it had succeeded, would pave the way for Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the party in the election to take over from Tinubu as the 16th President on Monday, when he is due to be inaugurated.
But the court, while dismissing the prayers, which originated from the Federal High Court Abuja, and travelled through the Court of Appeal, before it, agreeing with the positions of the lower courts which dismissed them on the ground of lacking in locus standi to institute the case.
But, Justice Adamu Jauro who read the Judgement, not only held that the PDP acted as meddlesome Interloper and a busy body as it is an internal affair of the APC, ordered the main opposition party to pay N2milllion, for its troubles, after establishing that its arguments tended to misleading the court, which was “sad”.
The court, which said it was aware of the case of Uche Nwosu, former governorship candidate in Imo State, the court, held that it did not applay in the instant case, as it agreed that Shettima withdrew his senate nomination on 6th July 2022 and was subsequently replaced and therefore, was no longer a candidate for the Senate before he picked up the running mate ticket, thus, making the allegation of multiple nomination untenable.
On the other hand, the court, held that Nwosu in his case, got nominated by two political parties for different positions, and having not being on all fours, PDP suit, was bound to fail right from the trial court, to the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court.
Accusing the PDP of attempts to use the social media to set a trap for the apex court to blackmail it, which he said was “painful, unfortunate and uncalled for,” the court said a political party had no right to challenge the action of another party, or the decision of INEC, in respect of another party, adding that for a person to have locus standi to challenge the nomination process of a political party, the person must be a neutral person and an aspirant to that position, and a member of the party.
Nigerians must allow the love they share abroad resonate at home – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is worried that the level of love Nigerians abroad share among themselves is not replicated at home, adding that a situation where they are quick to become friends outside and enemies at home, must be stop. The former President, who acknowledged how Nigerians in the diaspora were making the country proud in their different areas of endeavour, told participants at an evening reception held at New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, that Nigerians in the diaspora must conduct themselves as good citizens wherever they domiciled.
Obasanjo, whose views were captured in a statement by, Kehinde Akinyemi, his spokesman, expressed satisfaction over the unity exhibited among Nigerians in the United States of America, urging them to reciprocate such togetherness when they are back home.
The former President, said to have spoken on behalf of a delegation of eminent traditional leaders and academics that included the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Saka Matemilola, was quoted as saying: “Nigerian nationals are often very united when they are abroad, but something else when they return to the country, therefore, I want to urge all to be good citizens, not only where you are, but when also you come home to Nigeria.”
Uproar, social media exchange of fire, over Ooni’s handshake with Pete Edochie, KOK
The exchange of handshakes between veteran actors Pete Edochie and Kanayo O. Kanayo with Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyey Ogunwusi Enitan, has spurred a flurry of reactions on social media, The Nation, is reporting.
The paper, which reviewed the viral video shared on Thursday, where Edochie and Kanayo approached Ooni’s table at Elizabeth Jack Rich’s 40th birthday party on Tuesday and exchanged Igbo “cultural” handshakes with the monarch, acknowledged the different meanings being read into it.
Social media users on Twitter took to the comment section of the video with some knocking the actors for disrespecting the tradition by exchanging handshakes with the monarch, while others praised Ooni for showing respect to the Igbo culture.
Man of Letters said: “Igbakeji Oorisa?! It’s acceptable that he received the cross-culture respect handshake with Pete Edochie because the man Pete carry, but what’s his excuse for doing it with Kanayo O Kanayo??”
Kelvin Odanz said. “Is this ceremony holding in the Ooni palace? I mean, if an Igbo man (from a culture that doesn’t bow to another man) meets the Ooni in the UK for instance, is it disrespectful if he chooses to greet the respected Oba in a way he was brought up to respect dignitaries?”
Another user Onyemauchi tweeted: “This man supposed be King for him community”
Another tweep tracesorba wrote: “Igbos don’t bow down to any man, An evolved or wise man is their our own Chi.”