The recent Supreme Court judgment which has invariably distorted the political situation in Zamafara State and done incalculable damage to the fortunes of the State Chapter of the APC understandably came as a shock to many observers of the Nigeria political scene. While many saw it coming way back, many never believed such a situation could manifest, and even many more never envisaged or contemplated such an improbable political macabre dance of the absurd.
The circumstances leading to this dramatic turn of events is not only in the public domain but has become well understood by political watchers.Two contending groups within the Zamfara State Chapter of the APC had major disagreements on the outcome of primary elections conducted to select candidates who will fly the flag of the Party for various positions in the just concluded elections. This situation ended up in court and could not be resolved before the expiration of the time stipulated by INEC for submission
of the list of candidates. It was finally laid to rest last week by the Supreme Court when it unanimously and resoundingly held that the APC had no candidates in the just concluded elections, having not conducted valid primary elections as required by law.
Coming exactly twenty years since the return to civil and democratic rule in our country Nigeria the Supreme Court judgment is probably a very unfortunate development indeed and a fitting testimony to the low quality of democracy practiced in Nigeria after twenty unbroken years. But even more than that, this situation calls for sober reflection on the part of political parties and all lovers of democracy and the democratisation process.
While the scale and magnitude of the casualties in the Zamfara imbroglio may be unprecedented, the circumstances giving rise to this unfortunate development are not particularly new.
Since the general election that ushered in democratically elected leaders at various levels in 1999 the conduct of various political parties, particularly pertaining to party primaries, has left a lot to be desired. The Supreme Court, at some point or other, has had to intervene and wield the big stick just like it did in the Zamafara matter, and hand down punitive decisions that ordinarily should serve as a deterrent, but that desired deterrence hardly ever gets to fruition. The Omehia/Amaechi matter in Rivers, the
Hembe/Mato matter, the Boko/Nungwa are just a few of such instances.
In a relatively recent decision of the apex court – APGA vs. Anyanwu, their Lordship of the august seem to have been slow to any form of intervention in what is referred to as the domestic affairs of a political party. This is how Kekere-Ekun, JSC captured it: “membership of a political party is the domestic affair of the party concerned, and the courts will not be involved in deciding who the members of a political party are… In Lado vs. CPC (2012) 12 WRN 1, this court observed that with the introduction of section 34 of the Electoral Act, the absolute powers of political parties had been curtailed slightly but emphasised the fact that the provision did not in any way alter or modify the principle that the question as to who is a candidate of a political party for any election is a political question within the domestic jurisdiction of political parties and consequently not justiciable”
It is a different ball game entirely when in exercising this right conferred on political parties they are in palpable violation of their constitution, guidelines and regulations.
however, indicate that where it is established that a political party has violated its constitution and guidelines, then the matter ceases to be within its domestic realm, and can be inquired into by the courts. See Aghedo vs. Adenomo (2019) WRN 1 at 54 where Kekere-Ekun, JSC had this to say: “the law is settled that a political party has a duty to obey its own constitution and guidelines See Hope Uzodinma v. Senator O. Izunaso (No 2) 2012 2 WRN 1; (2011) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1275) 30. Therefore, in respect of its own constitution and guidelines, the court will not allow a political party to act arbitrarily or whimsically… Put differently, a political party is not allowed or permitted to operate above or outside its own laws – its constitution and guidelines, and indeed the constitution and the electoral act”. Clearly, the point that is being made by the apex court is that a political party is at liberty to make whatever law it chooses or pleases, but once that law is made, it has to be obeyed hook line and sinker.
And this is precisely what happened in Uzodinma vs. Izunaso (2012) 2 WRN 1 where the apex court per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC had this to say: “where the Political Party nominates a candidate for an election contrary to its own constitution and guidelines, a dissatisfied candidate has every right to approach the court for redress. In such a situation the courts have jurisdiction to examine and interpret relevant legislations to see
if the political party complied fully with legislation on the issue of nomination. The courts will never allow a political party to act arbitrarily or as it likes”.
Although the subject matter of Uzodinma vs. Izunaso (supra) had to do with nomination of candidates for an electoral contest, it nevertheless gives us an insight into the attitude of the court to situations of breach of the law, guidelines and constitution of political parties under the guise of domestic matters.
It is our hope and expectation, therefore, that the Zamfara case and several other cases referred to here and the seemingly changing attitude of the Supreme Court as the policy court of the land, will combine with the gradual consolidation of our democratic process and form the basis for which political parties will not only operate on the basis of internal democratic principles but will equally serve as a constant reminder for them to respect their constitutions and guidelines.
Fuel Subsidy Removal: Tinubu Goofed, Needs Help
By Audu Liberty Oseni
In the last three months, I have written three articles showing clearly how FUEL SUBSIDY removal was the greatest error. Information that the Tinubu government paid N169.
Tinubu and his team knows that Nigerians have a culture of enduring suffering, but there is a limit to which they can endure.For that reason, they have decided to bring back the Fuel Subsidy to avert the likelihood of mass anger whose outcome cannot be exactly predicted.
It is clear that Mr. Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian President, and his market fundamentalist team, have come to the realization that we are right when we argue that Fuel Subsidy is an Energy Security Nigeria cannot do without.
They can longer sustain their arguments about subsidy removal, they now agree with some of us that maintaining fuel subsidy which has a direct impact on the price of commodities is a mandatory duty and not an option. They know they have goofed, perhaps those who feed on taxpayers’ money to think for the government failed to educate Tinubu that removing Fuel Subsidy in a country like Nigeria with a huge poverty rate and pronounced infrastructural deficit, with a poor transportation system is economy blasphemy that will lead to mass suffering and deaths.
Doesn’t Mr. Tinubu’s government know this truth? The West, particularly the United States who are quick to prescribe neoliberal capitalism to Africa as a solution for economic challenges does not practice that on its own soil.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), pushed Mr. Tinubu’s government and other African states to embrace Neoliberal capitalism. The hypocrisy in their action is that they ensure that in the United States, Britain, and the likes of them, the governments are committed to providing basic welfare packages for the citizens.
Unfortunately, the West has sustained a welfarist ideology ensuring their citizens live a decent life with the government bearing huge costs, is using the IMF and World Bank to force Mr. Tinubu’s government and other countries in Africa to embrace neoliberal capitalism is pushing citizens into poverty, with Subsidy Removal as the most effective weapon.
The problem is that African leaders and their Western allies Economists who cheer this kind of faulty thinking, do not have the understanding that the IMF and World Bank neoliberal capitalist prescription is to keep Africa permanently underdeveloped by destroying citizens purchasing power and the manufacturing sector.
The bitter truth Mr. Tinubu’s government and his neoliberal ideology auxiliary Economists have refused to accept is that there is no country in the world that has made any progress on the basis of IMF and World Bank neoliberal capitalism model which they push in the guise of Subsidy removal.
It is a known fact that countries like China and India which have made measurable impacts in lifting their citizens from poverty and growing their economy, refused to play by the IMF and World Bank rules. Tinubu has to have this kind of understanding if he must put Nigeria on the path of sustainable growth.
Tinubu and his neoliberal Economists propagandists must know that the United States and the West do not practice this kind of wicked capitalism ideology they push to Africa. At least, the 2009 global recession has shown that in the United States, neoliberal capitalism is a mere intellectual exercise that is not applicable to real-life situations.
Even as the US battled the economic recessions, the government did not remove subsidies, didn’t sack workers, didn’t crumble its economy through currency devaluation, and did not tax the citizens to raise money. As a matter of fact, the US government increased its expenditure and lowered taxes. The government did that so the poor would have money to spend on ground since the recession happened as a result of inadequate money in circulation. The Private sector got bailouts from the government against the neoliberal rules of economic development.
Evidence before us is that subsidy is not the problem, it is the corruption in the way it has been managed. Nigerians must demand that Mr. Tinubu’s government addresses corruption in the fuel subsidy management and reinstate it for the common good of all citizens.
The neoliberal Economists propagandists who have lost touch with reality and have refused to embrace developmental economics, who are advising Mr. Tinubu to continue with the neoliberal capitalist model that has been rejected by the West must stop.
Mr. Tinubu’s team needs to help him by exploring home-grown developmental economics models with governance and citizens’ welfare at the centre. Wicked capitalism with cruel policies has not helped any country in the world and Nigeria will not be an exception.
Audu Liberty Oseni, MAWA-Foundation Coordinator- email@example.com
FULL TEXT of President Bola Tinubu’s 63rd Independence Day Anniversary Speech
1. It is my unique honour to address you on this day, the 63rd anniversary of our nation’s independence, both as the President of our dear country and, simply, as a fellow Nigerian.
2. On this solemn yet hopeful day, let us commend our founding fathers and mothers.
3. Let us, at this very moment, affirm that as Nigerians, we are all endowed with the sacred rights and individual gifts that God has bestowed on us as a nation and as human beings.No one is greater or lesser than the other. The triumphs that Nigeria has achieved shall define us. The travails we have endured shall strengthen us. And no other nation or power on this earth shall keep us from our rightful place and destiny. This nation belongs to you, dear people. Love and cherish it as your very own.
4. Nigeria is remarkable in its formation and essential character. We are a broad and dynamic blend of ethnic groups, religions, traditions and cultures. Yet, our bonds are intangible yet strong, invisible yet universal. We are joined by a common thirst for peace and progress, by the common dream of prosperity and harmony and by the unifying ideals of tolerance and justice.
5. Forging a nation based on the fair application of these noble principles to a diverse population has been a task of significant blessing but also a serial challenge. Some people have said an independent Nigeria should never have come into existence. Some have said that our country would be torn apart. They are forever mistaken. Here, our nation stands and here we shall remain.
6. This year, we passed a significant milestone in our journey to a better Nigeria. By democratically electing a 7th consecutive civilian government, Nigeria has proven that commitment to democracy and the rule of law remains our guiding light.
7. At my inauguration, I made important promises about how I would govern this great nation. Among those promises, were pledges to reshape and modernize our economy and to secure the lives, liberty and property of the people.
8. I said that bold reforms were necessary to place our nation on the path of prosperity and growth. On that occasion, I announced the end of the fuel subsidy.
9. I am attuned to the hardships that have come. I have a heart that feels and eyes that see. I wish to explain to you why we must endure this trying moment. Those who sought to perpetuate the fuel subsidy and broken foreign exchange policies are people who would build their family mansion in the middle of a swamp. I am different. I am not a man to erect our national home on a foundation of mud. To endure, our home must be constructed on safe and pleasant ground.
10. Reform may be painful, but it is what greatness and the future require. We now carry the costs of reaching a future Nigeria where the abundance and fruits of the nation are fairly shared among all, not hoarded by a select and greedy few. A Nigeria where hunger, poverty and hardship are pushed into the shadows of an ever fading past.
11. There is no joy in seeing the people of this nation shoulder burdens that should have been shed years ago. I wish today’s difficulties did not exist. But we must endure if we are to reach the good side of our future.
12. My government is doing all that it can to ease the load. I will now outline the path we are taking to relieve the stress on our families and households.
13. We have embarked on several public sector reforms to stabilize the economy, direct fiscal and monetary policy to fight inflation, encourage production, ensure the security of lives and property and lend more support to the poor and the vulnerable.
14. Based on our talks with labour, business and other stakeholders, we are introducing a provisional wage increment to enhance the federal minimum wage without causing undue inflation. For the next six months, the average low-grade worker shall receive an additional Twenty-Five Thousand naira per month.
15. To ensure better grassroots development, we set up an Infrastructure Support Fund for states to invest in critical areas. States have already received funds to provide relief packages against the impact of rising food and other prices.
16. Making the economy more robust by lowering transport costs will be key. In this regard, we have opened a new chapter in public transportation through the deployment of cheaper, safer Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses across the nation. These buses will operate at a fraction of current fuel prices, positively affecting transport fares.
17. New CNG conversions kits will start coming in very soon as all hands are on deck to fast track the usually lengthy procurement process. We are also setting up training facilities and workshops across the nation to train and provide new opportunities for transport operators and entrepreneurs. This is a groundbreaking moment where, as a nation, we embrace more efficient means to power our economy. In making this change, we also make history.
18. I pledged a thorough housecleaning of the den of malfeasance the CBN had become. That housecleaning is well underway. A new leadership for the Central Bank has been constituted. Also, my special investigator will soon present his findings on past lapses and how to prevent similar reoccurrences. Henceforth, monetary policy shall be for the benefit of all and not the exclusive province of the powerful and wealthy.
19. Wise tax policy is essential to economic fairness and development. I have inaugurated a Committee on Tax Reforms to improve the efficiency of tax administration in the country and address fiscal policies that are unfair or hinder the business environment and slow our growth.
20. To boost employment and urban incomes, we are providing investment funding for enterprises with great potential. Similarly, we are increasing investment in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
21. Commencing this month, the social safety net is being extended through the expansion of cash transfer programs to an additional 15 million vulnerable households.
22. My administration shall always accord the highest priority to the safety of the people. Inter-Service collaboration and intelligence sharing have been enhanced. Our Service Chiefs have been tasked with the vital responsibility of rebuilding the capacities of our security services.
23. Here, I salute and commend our gallant security forces for keeping us safe and securing our territorial integrity. Many have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We remember them today and their families. We shall equip our forces with the ways and means needed to perform their urgent task on behalf of the people,
24. We shall continue to make key appointments in line with the provisions of the Constitution and with fairness toward all. Women, Youth and the physically challenged shall continue to be given due regard in these appointments.
25. May I take this opportunity to congratulate the National Assembly for its role in the quick take-off of this administration through the performance of its constitutional duties of confirmation and oversight.
26. I similarly congratulate the judiciary as a pillar of democracy and fairness.
27. I also thank members of our dynamic civil society organizations and labour unions for their dedication to Nigerian democracy. We may not always agree but I value your advice and recommendations. You are my brothers and sisters and you have my due respect.
28. Fellow compatriots, the journey ahead will not be navigated by fear or hatred. We can only achieve our better Nigeria through courage, compassion and commitment as one indivisible unit.
29. I promise that I shall remain committed and serve faithfully. I also invite all to join this enterprise to remake our beloved nation into its better self. We can do it. We must do it. We shall do it.!!!
30. I wish you all a happy 63rd Independence Anniversary.
31. Thank you for listening.32. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
BRICS: Did Nigeria Miss Out On Admittance?
By Kayode Adebiyi
At the 2023 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, the leaders of member countries that form the bloc– Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – announced the impending admittance of six more countries to its fold.
Host, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, said at the event that Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates had been invited to join the bloc.
With full membership scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, BRICS will now comprise 11 countries.
Several other countries have expressed interest in joining the group, a clear indication in the 67 countries invited as guests to attend its 2023 summit.
BRICS was founded as BRIC in 2009 as an alternative platform for its members to challenge the international multilateral cooperation dominated by the United States, the European Union and the Bretton Woods system.
South Africa joined the group in 2010, thereby giving it the present acronym which, with the new entrants, will be known as BRICS+.
Although many regard the bloc as an informal multilateral organisation, experts say its last summit was a statement of intent to truly challenge the status quo.
Navdeep Suri, a Fellow at India’s think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF), said the BRICS’ Johannesburg summit passed a clear message.
“The 15th BRICS summit has gone further than any other in the recent past to modernize and galvanise the grouping.
“It has sent a strong signal that the post-World War II order should accept the multipolar reality and change with the times’’, he said.
This position was echoed by Jhanvi Tripathi, an Associate Fellow at ORF, who said the group’s composition suggests that it intends to shake up global economic and political cooperation.
“Even the profiles of the new members suggest that the system is headed for something beyond traditionally ‘acceptable’ partners in the eyes of the West.
“The presence of Iran especially and the reactions to it will be interesting to follow,” she said.
Indeed, even before the new members, the original five member countries accounted for over 40 per cent of the global population and a quarter of its economy.
Reuters reported before the summit in South Africa that at least 40 countries had indicated interest in joining the bloc, many of them emerging economies.
Many public affairs analysts and commentators have expressed curiosity as to why Nigeria – Africa’s biggest economy and most populous country – failed to secure admission into the potentially formidable bloc.
In his column Begging for a Seat at the Table, Azu Ishiekwene wondered why President Bola Tinubu was more obsessed with becoming a member of the G-20, rather than BRICS.
“Instead of trying to cross seven seas to join the G-20, Nigeria should be more worried that even though it was also a guest at the BRICS meeting in Johannesburg in August, it was not among the six countries that would get membership from January 2024, with the two new spots in Africa going to Ethiopia and Egypt,” he wrote.
Analysts say Bretton Wood institutions such as the World Bank and IMF are not in a hurry to reform and review their structural approach towards emerging markets’ economic challenges.
They say that as mono-cultural economies, emerging markets have no way of influencing the prices of primary products they export for foreign exchange.
Shouldn’t Nigeria join an economic bloc that offers more than currency devaluation, austerity measures, unequal access to foreign exchange and trade imbalances, some analysts ask analyst asked.
One way to look at the potential benefits of Nigeria joining BRICS is to look at how South Africa, so far, its smallest member in terms of size of economy and population, has leveraged its membership.
Available data shows that South Africa’s overall trade with its BRICS partners increased by an average growth of 10 per cent between 2017 and 2021.
BRICS accounted for 21 per cent of the country’s global trade in 2022, with trade with China accounting for about 15 per cent of South Africa’s global trade with a total trade of R556 billion.
India also accounted for 6 per cent of the total trade, increasing from R140bn in 2021 to R225bn in 2022.
Already, the bloc has floated the New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, which is a multilateral development bank to finance public and private projects.
There is also the mulling of a common currency, advocated by President Lula da Silva of Brazil, as a means of reducing member countries’ vulnerability to dollar exchange rate fluctuations.
Some foreign relations experts say perhaps, Nigeria’s reluctance to join BRICS is a cautious attempt not to rush into an association with a group labeled as anti-West.
But Prof. Günther Maihold, a Senior Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said such an assumption does not hold water.
“The old scripts of belonging to a certain order are no longer valid because the reliability of traditional partners has changed.
“The G-7 needs to be aware that the formation of BRICS+ is more than a mere political maneuver to advance China’s vision of international order,” he said.
Nigeria’s Afro-centric foreign policy and its relationship with the West are valuable. But global economy-wise, it can ill afford to put all its eggs in one basket. (NANFeatures)
Read Our ePaper
US House Removes McCarthy as Speaker
ShareFor the first time in U.S. history, U.S. lawmakers voted Tuesday to remove the Speaker of the U.S. House of...
NLC, TUC commend Gov. Sani for inclusion, assures of fair palliative distribution
Share The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have commended Gov. Uba Sani of Kaduna state for...
Military budget: CDS seeks minister’s support
Share The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Christopher Musa, on Tuesday solicited the support of the Ministry of Budget...
SDP urges President Tinubu, IG to call Kogi CP to order
ShareThe Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Tuesday urged President Bola Tinubu and the Inspector General of Police (IG) to call...
Commission trains 150 Nomadic Youth, Women on Skills Acquisition
ShareThe National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) has trained 150 nomadic youths and women across Anambra, Delta, Katsina, Osun, Yobe...
Sokoto Judicial Commission grants Tambuwal, nine others additional time for defence Commission
Share The Sokoto State Commission of Inquiry has approved the request of former Gov. Aminu Tambuwal and nine others for...
Ooni partners Chinese company to create over 50000 jobs
Share The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Chinese...
KDSG reiterates commitment to enhance capabilities of KADBUSA’s operations
Share The Director-General (DG), Kaduna Bureau of Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (KADBUSA), Joseph Ike, said, Kaduna State Government has...
NAPTIP celebrates as 62-years-old trafficker goes in for 12 years
ShareThe National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), has expressed appreciation at Tuesday’s sentencing of a human...
Lalong sets up committee to probe complaints against NSITF management
ShareMr Simon Lalong, Minister of Labour and Employment, says he has set up a committee to probe alleged complaints by...