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Betera’s Speakership Quest gets More Endorsement




By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja

The dream of House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Appropriations, Hon. Aliyu Mukhtar Betara, has received a major boost, as the current Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, Majority Leader, Ado Doguwa and other bigwigs in the House, have defied the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to root for Betara, vowing to fight for independence of parliament.

This is coming amidst condemnations of the ruling party’s choice of Abass Tajudeen for Speakership of the 10th House of Representatives.

All the strategic members of the 9th House, most who are in the Speakership race, are angry with the APC and appeared to have found a force in Betara’s candidacy, to prove their points against the party that sought to rubbish them.

Betara’s declaration on Monday night was attended by Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Chairman of the Committee on Navy, Yusuf Gagdi and Hon. Sada Soli, all of whom have declared their intentions to run for speakership of the 10th Assembly.

Wase during his goodwill message faulted APC’s choice of Abass whom he said was not known to members of the House, urging his colleagues to guard against any attempt at hijacking the parliament.

“Again, I want to add that we are here to ensure the independence of the parliament. To ensure that we work together. Every Parliamentarian must rise to the occasion. We will work as a team. We will not allow this parliament to be hijacked. We will not allow this parliament to be made a lame duck. I believe we are loyal to our country first, loyal to our party and loyal to our people.

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“When you say you have a consensus candidate, the language for consensus is that  there  have been mass consultations, people go to the table for discussion. There is agreement. In this case, we just saw and we are hearing rumours, speculations that some people have been made consensus candidates.  I don’t know whether that is the meaning of consensus. This place  is very sacred. We must be honourable in our action in defence of  the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, Wase said.

Also speaking, Doguwa said the parliament must always be allowed to choose its leaders, noting that it was not for outsiders to decide, who leads the House.

“One message I want to send across is that the parliament is one institution that must always be allowed to choose its own leaders. The business of our leadership should be solely our business and no other person’s business.

“In a situation where you have some people in whatsoever guise trying to decide our leadership, to form our leadership from outside without consulting us I think that should be seen as a mere failure. I remain available for consultation until that is done, everyone will answer his father’s name,” he said.

Betara in his speech said he was working in collaboration with other aspirants for the project.

“My name is Muktar Aliyu Betara. I am from Borno State. Much has been said about Betara. I invited all of you here to declare for the speakership of the 10th Assembly. I am supposed to read this my speech but I think it will take time. All has been said about me. The most important thing today is for me to declare that I am contesting for the speakership.

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“Today is our day for members-elect and for former members of the parliament. You are seeing all the aspirants here. They came to support me because we are one family. We are moving as a group. We have been in the system for years. I was a member in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Assemblies.

“The deputy speaker that we came in together, we have been close and I think I am the best friend to the deputy speaker when we came in the 6th Assembly. We have been in one family, we are together but in politics sometimes he will on the other side and I will be on the other side. But today we are together for this movement. When I invited him, he joined me today for my declaration here he honoured it and my DS (Deputy Speaker), I am very grateful for the honour you gave me today.

“For my brother Hon. Gagdi, I remember when Gudaji went for his declaration, he said Betara is one man that doesn’t say no and why I cannot say no to my colleagues is sometimes when your colleague comes to you, he needs your assistance, if I cannot provide all, at least I can do small. That is the main reason I cannot say no.

“Honourable Colleagues, as the engine room of the legislature, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila gave me a name, he calls me the Head boy. I was surprised for my friend, my boss to nominate one person outside all of us here. If today the deputy speaker of the House is contesting, the chairman Appropriation is contesting, the majority leader is contesting, then who is closer to the speaker? So nobody. He is bringing one person that members of the 9th Assembly I can tell you some of us even don’t even know the person is speaking – a lot of us. So, Honourable Colleagues today I am here before you as Honourable members to declare that I am contesting for the speakership of the 10th Assembly. Thank you very much,” the Speakership hopeful stated.

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Also speaking, Director General of the Betara Campaign Organization, Hon. Dickson Tarkigir said, “our constituents and indeed Nigerians are expecting us to break new grounds and approach the new horizon that will be symbolized by life made better for our constituents, and our nation as the ultimate justification for being elected.

“It has been said that to know a healthy fish, check the head, this simple test, instructively is not for fishes alone, but will be apposite in our situation today, to realise that the nature of the personality who leads the 10th assembly House of Representatives, will substantially influence us to succeed or otherwise as individual members and corporately as the House of Representatives.

“It then behooves on us to realise that we must ensure that we elect the next speaker with clarity of thought and sufficient information on a number of parameters.

“To assume that just anyone can do the job will be taking a shot in the dark, and that will be failing in our duty.

“The decision must therefore be made consciously, without fear or favour, or ill will,” he said.


Senate Approves N6.7bn as Refund for Kebbi for Road Repairs



President of the Senate Ahmed Lawan

The Senate has approved payment of N6.7 billion to Kebbi Government as refund for repairs carried out on Federal Government roads in the state.

This followed the adoption of the report of Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts at Thursday’s plenary.

The report was on “Promissory note and bond issuance as refund to Kebbi State government for projects executed on behalf of the federal government.

The Chairman of the Committee, Sen.

Clifford Ordia while presenting the report, said that the committee recommended N6.706 billion as
promissory note and bond issuance.

He said that the amount was to settle outstanding claims and liabilities of Kebbi government.

Ordia said that the Senate had on Sept. 21, 2022 considered the report of the President on the “Establishment of a Promissory Note Programme and a Bond Issuance” as refund to Kebbi and Yobe states.

“It was for projects executed on behalf of the federal government.

“The report was referred to the committee for further legislative action,” he said.

Ordia said that promissory note programme and bond issuance was a financial instrument to clear federal government’s debt to other governmental and non-governmental bodies in various sectors of the economy.

“Specifically, this promissory note and bond issuance is designed to make refunds to three state governments for projects executed on behalf of the federal government in the aforementioned states.

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“The communication has contained a request for approval of N18.6 billion for Yobe Government, N2.47 billion for Taraba Government and N6.7 billion for Kebbi State Government.

“It will be recalled that the committee noted that it would resume the consideration of the outstanding request in respect of Kebbi as soon as possible.

“Subsequently, on Nov. 23, 2022, the Senate considered the committee’s report on the promissory note programme for Taraba and Yobe for projects executed on behalf of the federal government.

“The upper chamber then mandated the committee to re-invite Kebbi government to defend its claim before the committee within two weeks,” Ordia said.

He said that the committee found out that Kebbi government completed all the projects for which it sought for refund.

They findings he said are:

“That the roads were constructed in line with the contract specifications and can stand the test of time.

“That the projects were executed between 2006 and 2012 and are federal roads.

“That series of inspection visits were carried out by the Ministry of Works and Housing on the federal roads completed in the state and it ascertained that the level of work had met required standard.

“That the state government had paid all the contractors that executed the projects.

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“That the promised amount due for reimbursement to Kebbi State Government and reviewed by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) is N6,706,835,495.12 for the execution of federal roads.

“That BPP had attained and classified that due process was followed accordingly.”

Meanwhile, the 9th Senate had adjourned until Saturday for valedictory session. (NAN)

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Senate Defers Valedictory Session to Saturday




Trailed by unresolved wrangling over the election of its principal officers in the 10th assembly, the Senate yesterday postponed its earlier announced valedictory session.

The Green Chamber is yet to agree on who occupies what position in the incoming Senate principal officers’ election, following the All Progressives Congress (APC) to allocate the positions to the six geo-political zones of the country.

The APC National Working Committee (NWC) had zoned the Senate Presidency of the forthcoming 10th National Assembly to the South-South; and the Speakership of the House of Representatives to the North-West.

The party also zoned the Deputy Senate Presidency to the North-West, and Deputy Speakership to the South-East.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, announced yesterday that the Senate has rescheduled its valedictory session to Saturday.

On the other hand, the House Representatives yesterday held its Valedictory Session.

Lawan had announced on Tuesday that the Upper Chamber would hold its valedictory session on Thursday.

The Senate President told members of the Senate Press Corps that the shift in the date was due to a scheduled meeting of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu with the lawmakers of the incoming 10th National Assembly on Thursday.

The Senate held plenary on Tuesday as well as yesterday.

See also  10th Reps Speakership: G7 Adopts Consensus Option, Favours Betara

“By the grace of God, we will still hold plenary today and then our valedictory session will be on Saturday.

“It is because tomorrow, Mr President, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be meeting with the Senators-elect and members-elect at 2pm.

“And we believe that a session as significant, important, historical and memorable as valedictory session of the Senate requires a whole day. Not one, two, three hours. And therefore we pushed it to Saturday,” Lawan said.

The Ninth Senate officially ends its four-year tenure on 11th June, 2023.

Lawan hinted that the 10th Senate would be inaugurated on Tuesday, 13th June, 2023.

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Memories, Emotions as Reps Dissolve 9th Assembly  



House of Rep Speaker-Femi Gbajabiamila

By Eze Okechukwu & Ubong Ukpong, Abuja

Memories and emotions went high yesterday during the valedictory session of the House of Representatives, as Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila officially dissolved the 9th assembly.

Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the Majority Leader of the House, had moved a motion to commence the valedictory session, while Rep Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Leader seconded the motion.

Gbajabiamila, in his valedictory speech, said: “I will miss all of you and miss this house, you have enriched my life and I cannot express how much you have impacted the house.

In an emotion laden speech, Gbajabiamila said the joint efforts in nation building by members were to ensure that the dreams of the nation’s founding fathers did not die.

“We have come, we have seen and while we are yet to conquer, my enthusiasm to serve remained undiminished,” he said.

According to him, it has been the honour of his life to serve the people of the country.

“I thank my constituency and I express gratitude to my colleagues for the privilege to serve.”

He said since he assumed office, the house had changed drastically in such a manner he had not witnessed, adding that the change came with speed as witnessed in the last four years.

See also  10th Reps Speakership: G7 Adopts Consensus Option, Favours Betara

He said the 9th House of Reps had governed well with some interventions, including COVID-19 pandemic, Police Reform Bill, Electoral Acts Amendment Bill, Constitutional Review, among others.

“We have worked to take advantage of social and economic transformation that benefit us; we have left our mark on every sectors of our national life,” he said.

He said the House was able to introduce discipline on the Appropriation Act that now commenced from January to December of every year.

According to him, the 9th House of Reps has ended and the 10th will commence.

“I urge you to ensure that you are not found wanting by man or God in the final judgment.”

Also, Rep. Julius Ihovhre (APC-Edo), said he would forever cherish the friendship he made in the 9th assembly, adding that such relationship would last forever.

He commended the speaker for leading the house well and perfectly and demonstrated that he could manage a diverse group of people.

“In your new roles as the Chief of Staff to the President, the challenges you will face are more than here, we plead with you not to abandon the spirit of excellence,” he said.

He said Nigeria required the kind of leader with a sense of mission, while urging Gbajabiamila to ensure the Federal Government paid attention to basic education.

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Rep. Luke Onofiong (PDP-Akwa-Ibom) said members had made relationships that would last forever and commended his constituency for giving him the privilege to serve.

He commended the speaker for accommodating members and relaxing the rules to give new members a voice, noting that the speaker was gentle enough to accommodate their errors.

He urged the house to take the judiciary seriously with salary review.

Rep. Yusuf Gadgi (APC-Plateau) on his part said, “In my constituency, Muslims are 30 per cent while Christians constitute 70 per cent but they have always sent me here and for using me as a good example of how Nigeria should behave.

“What I want to say is the message of forgiveness, I want, on your behalf and other members, to forgive one another. In this assignment, we must have offended one another.

His comment on forgiveness generated some uproar, as members grumbled endlessly.

Unperturbed, Gagdi said “irrespective of the grumbling, what is right is right and people must learn to forgive others”.

Rep. Aisha Duku (APC-Borno) expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the first woman to represent her constituency.

“Mr Speaker you have blessed me to bless others, I have changed the perspective of politics in my area because this is the first time that a Fulani woman and a Muslim will come out from that area.

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“I have been able to enlighten people and bring out the women to vote, which hitherto they had not.

“I have participated in Bills assented to by the president and today they are laws, I commend my committee as the Chairman, House Committee on INEC, for supporting me.

Duku said she was now a better Nigerian, as she traveled to a lot of places in the country but her only regret was that no gender bill was passed.

In attendance at the session of the 9th assembly were former speakers, House Leader such as Gali Na’abba, Patricia Etteh, Mulikat Akande and some former clerks of NASS.

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