By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja
The House of Representatives yesterday, declared vacant, the seat of immediate-past Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, following his resignation from the House, after 20-year of his parliamentary sojourn in the Green Chamber of the National Assembly.
Gbajabiamila, who was sworn-in as a member of the House for the 6th term on Tuesday, tendered his resignation letter at plenary, to the new Speaker of the 10th House, Tajudeen Abbas.
In the letter, Gbajabiamila, who was once Minority Whip, Minority Leader and later rose to Majority Leader, before becoming Speaker in the 9th House, said it was to enable him assume duty in his new appointment as Chief of Staff to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
President Tinubu had on Friday, June 2, 2023 appointed Gbajabiamila as his Chief of Staff at a meeting with Progressive Governors Forum (PGF).E
Gbajabiamila was elected into the House to represent Surulere 1 Federal Constituency of Lagos State since 2003.
Before tendering his resignation letter, Gbajabiamila had moved the first motion of urgent public importance in the 10th House on the “Need to Commence Active Measures to Mitigate the Probable Devastation of a Severe Flood Season and prepare Palliative Intervention to Prevent the worst Socio-Economic Consequences for Nigerians in the Affected Areas.”
Sequel to the motion, the House resolved to summon the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other relevant agencies for briefing on measures being taken to mitigate flood disasters and other socio economic impacts on citizens living in flood prone areas.
Gbajabiamila had observed that the country was yet to recover from the 2022 flood, which affected more than four million Nigerians, displaced over two million people, caused the death of 665 people, damaged about 355,986 houses and destroyed an estimated total of 944,989 hectares of farmlands.
“The experience of the 2022 flood caused the federal government of Nigeria to constitute a presidential committee to develop a comprehensive plan of action for preventing flood disasters in Nigeria.
“The action plan proposed both the structural and non-structural measures, better coordination among stakeholders across both states and federal governments to ensure effective flood management in Nigeria.”
Adopting the motion, the House resolved to work with relevant government agencies to ensure the relocation of Nigerians away from flood prone areas.
The House also resolved to ensure that the Federal Government provides sufficient temporary shelter materials, food and nutritional items as well as medicine.
It further resolved to encourage communication between the federal and state governments to ensure effective collaboration to prepare for the worst outcome.
We’ve Nothing like Budget Padding- Omisore
Sen. Iyiola Omisore (APC- Osun) says there’s nothing like budget padding, as it in the responsibility of the National Assembly to approve the yearly budget of the executive.
Omisore, also a former chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, said this at a one-day citizens ‘ town hall meeting on the 2024 appropriation bill in Abuja on Monday.
“When you hear of padding, it is an embarrassment; there is nothing like padding.The president brought the budget, which is what we have now,” he said.
He said that Civil Society Organisations should know that there was nothing like padding in the Nigerian budgeting system.
“The budget as presented by the President means that NASS has the power to look into it and see whether it satisfies Nigerians or not.
“If you don’t give a budget, there is nothing to oversight. The moment you put blackmail on a budget, then you don’t believe in it. The budget belongs to the parliament,” he said.
Rep. Benjamin Kalu, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, said that budget played critical role in determining the allocation of resources, adding that it must be inclusive and reflect the needs and aspirations of the citizenry.
He said the town hall meeting provided a unique opportunity for the citizenry to understand the budget process.
He urged the public to participate actively in the budget process, adding that Nigeria was faced with the challenge of limited resources and numerous demands.
“The government is committed to fiscal responsibility, and the budget demonstrates prudent financial management.
“The 2024 budget will be an effective utilization of budget resources and will serve the interests of the populace,” he said.
Alhaji Sani Tambawal, the Clerk of the National Assembly, said that ignoring critical stakeholders in budgets formulation was not good for the system.
“The budget is owned by the people; this town hall is in line with the agenda of the 10th House of Representatives’. This will help to strengthen the democratic structure,” he said.
He said that the town hall meeting would help in the open process and accountability in the budget process, adding that it would advance democratic processes and public policy formulation. (NAN)
APC Postpones Inauguration of Standing Committees
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has postponed indefinitely, the inauguration of its Standing Committees on Establishment, Finance, Publicity, Inter-Governmental, Conflict and Resolutions earlier slated for Wednesday, Dec. 6.
Mr Felix Morka, the APC National Publicity Secretary, said this on Monday in Abuja when he briefed newsmen on the outcome of the meeting of the party’s National Working Committee ( NWC) in Abuja.
He said the information was for those that were listed for the inauguration so they won’t border travelling to Abuja for that purpose.
Morka said a new date for the inauguration would be made public in due course. (NAN)
Ortom, Achado Laud Senate over Position on Arbitrary Dissolution of Local Councils
From Attah Ede, Makurdi
The immediate past governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has applauded the Senate for its resolution on Friday, which condemned the arbitrary dissolution of democratically elected local councils in the federation.
Ortom described the intervention of the Senate as a significant move which reflects a commitment to upholding democratic principles and ensuring the autonomy of local government administration across the country.
According to him, the unanimous resolution by the upper chamber of the National Assembly also represents a crucial step in safeguarding the democratic process at the grassroots level.
According to him, the Senate’s decision is a proactive measure, which also has the potency to deter any act that undermines the democratic rights of citizens and the principles of good governance.
Ortom in a statement signed by his Media Aide, Terver Akase and made available to newsmen in Makurdi said calling for the withholding of statutory allocations to non-democratically elected local councils in Nigeria was in order.
He maintained that the Senate has demonstrated a firm stance against dictatorial tendencies.
The former governor commended Senator Abba Moro for his proactive motion, which drew urgent attention to the issue of the unconstitutionally sacked local councils in Benue State.
Similarly, a member of the House of Representatives for Gwer/Gwer East Federal Constituency, Asema Achado advised Governor Hycinth Alia of Benue State to always consult stakeholders, especially the political class before taking a decisions for the ttate.
Achado in a letter he personally signed entitled, “My Humble Advice to My Dear Governor, Hyacinth Alia” stated that as the Governor of Benue State carried a significant responsibility of shaping the future of Benue State and its people.
“It is in this spirit that I am reaching out to offer some useful advice and suggestions that I believe will help you in carrying out your duties effectively and in the best interest of the people of Benue State.
“First and foremost, it is crucial for you to always consult with relevant stakeholders, including party leadership at all levels when making decisions that impact the State,” he said.
He posited that consultation is the cornerstone of effective leadership, and by seeking input from a wide range of voices, the governor can be sure that his decisions are well-informed and have the support of the people they affect.
“This will also help in promoting transparency and inclusivity in governance, which are essential ingredients for building trust and cooperation among all stakeholders.
“His Excellency is no doubt aware that delivering on commitments and demonstrating integrity in dealings with political leaders can build the quantum of trust and goodwill that are expected for effective governance. Note also that honesty, fairness, and professionalism are key traits that can positively impact relationships with political leaders,” he added.
According to Achado, working collaboratively with political leaders to achieve common goals can help in maintaining support and cooperation and a shared vision for the future of the State as well as unite political leaders and pave the way for the development of our dear state.
While urging Governor Alia to be more accessible to the electorate, Achado contended that the ability to engage with the citizens and listen to their concerns is a fundamental aspect of effective governance and encouraged him to create opportunities for open dialogue with the people of Benue State, whether through town hall meetings, public fora or other accessible platforms.
The lawmaker insisted that by being present and attentive to the needs of the people, the governor can demonstrate his commitment to serving their interests and promoting their well-being.
He said, “I have also heard reports regarding your long hours of prayer sessions during the day, which have resulted in delayed or cancelled official engagements. While I understand and appreciate the importance of spiritual devotion, it is equally important to ensure that your duties as governor are carried out effectively and efficiently.
“I would advise you to consider shifting your well-intended long hours of prayer sessions to the night, allowing you to free up your daytime hours for official duties and engagements. This will help in ensuring that your responsibilities as Governor are given the attention they deserve, while also honouring your well-intended personal beliefs and practices.
“Additionally, it has come to my attention that some senior government officials, bishops, and other senior citizens have had to wait for extended periods, sometimes over 10 hours, to see you for scheduled appointments. This kind of prolonged waiting time can disrupt the schedules of these individuals and may convey a negative perception that you lack consideration for their time,” he said.
“You have to review your scheduling practices and make adjustments to ensure that appointments are honoured in a timely manner so as such will not only demonstrate respect for the time of others but also showcase commitment to efficient and professional governance.
“There is need to reconsider the dissolution of elected local government councils in the state, saying listening to the voice of reason is a crucial aspect of leadership, and it is important to carefully consider the potential impact of such decisions on the functioning of local governance and the well-being of the communities affected”.
“Your commitment to the well-being of the people and the development of the State is commendable, and by implementing these additional suggestions, I believe you can further enhance your effectiveness as a leader with great reckoning.”
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