COURT AFFIRMS PRO-WIKE LAWMAKERS AS MEMBERS OF PDP, SAYS RIVERS GOVT IS BOUND BY LAWS THEY MADE A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, has affirmed that Martin Amaewhule and the 26 other members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, are still members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Delivering judgement in Port Harcourt on Monday, Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the Rivers State High Court, held that the claimants failed to prove that Amaewhule and 26 other lawmakers, had defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Justice Gbasam further held that membership of a party is only proven by being listed on the party’s register, or by membership card, adding that television ceremonies and or verbal statements, were not enough to show the same. Interestingly, the PDP had filed a motion to be joined in the case, and was added as the fourth defendant. Justice Gbasam further held that the Rivers state government is bound to obey all laws passed by the Assembly, as they are still members of the PDP hence, their names are still in the PDP’s membership register as provided by the party. He further posited that the state government is bound by the laws made by the Assembly, as they are still members of the PDP, and as such, haven’t lost their seats. Peoplesvoice recalls that another Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had on Friday, May 30, declared the seats of the 26 lawmakers vacant pending the determination of a suit before it. The court ordered the Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule, to stop parading as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly and barred the lawmakers, who werere Anti-Siminalayi Fubara, the governor of the state, from posing as lawmakers in the state.


WHY WE’RE PROPOSING PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM OF GOVT – REPS MEMBER One of the proponents of a shift from the current Presidential to Parliamentary System of government in Nigeria, Rep Kingsley Chinda, has said what was being proposed is an home-grown system of government that will benefit all classes of Nigerians. Chinda, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, made the disclosure in an interactive session with fellow proponents at the weekend in Abuja. On recent reactions against the proposed shift by 2031, Chinda said: “I am one of the strong proponents of the shift from presidential to a homegrown parliamentary system of government. “Now, yes, we have listened to some criticisms, particularly that of (former) Governor Fashola, who is of the opinion that we should tell Nigerians why the First Republic failed and that should be the starting point. “But I want to assure you that we are not building castles in the air. We took our time to look at the system of government, to look at the problems within the polity, and how, as parliamentarians, we can assist in resolving some of these problems through legislative intervention. Ad “And then we felt that the entire system that we are practising is skewed towards failure. One, considering our background, our experiences, our diversity, which, of course, should be an advantage to us. “And then if you look at the places where systems of government are copied from, they consider their culture, they consider their beliefs; they consider their society in adopting a system of government. But in Nigeria, we either copy from the United Kingdom or we copy from the United States, without recourse to our background. And that is why we are asking for a homegrown system of government. “But because we don’t have, perhaps, the proper word to describe it, what we envision is closer to a parliamentary system. And so today, we are asking that we amend our Constitution to introduce a homegrown parliamentary system of government. “Now, what led to the failure of the First Republic, whether we had studied it? I will answer Governor Fashola by saying, yes, we have studied it. We have studied deeply the First Republic, the conduct, the successes, and the failure. “And in doing that, we have even moved to Kano to meet with the only surviving member of the First Republic, Alhaji (Aminu) Dantata and we asked him this question directly. Why did it fail? And some of his responses were, one, that during the First Republic, many of them were not very well informed as to the system, the rudiments, and the practice. And so to him, one of the reasons why the parliamentary system failed was ignorance. “Two, our various tribes and religions and belief in them and then the individual attitude of politicians of that time, which is still in place till today, concerning the issues of power and exercise of power and abuse of discretion. “And then the constitutional provision that has to do with the sharing of power between the centre and the regions. That, all these culminated, mainly the power tussle and struggle, culminated into the crisis we had in the South-West, which led to the failure of the First Republic. “And so having heard these, we have also taken into consideration these issues and that’s why we keep saying that it would be wrong for you to introduce a system of government without taking cognizance of your background, where you’re coming from. “I give you an example. Ask a Nigerian public office-holder to exercise discretion today on an issue. He will be influenced by either religion or tribe. Very few public officers in Nigeria will exercise discretion with a neutral background, dispassionately. “Now,…


ATIKU, OBI, KWANKWASO TO ADDRESS DEMOCRACY DAY RALLY As part of preparations to mark this year’s June 12 Democracy Day celebration, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; former presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi; and former presidential candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Dr Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso, are scheduled to address Nigerians at a national democracy rally in Lagos. The event, organised by The Patriots, an eminent group of leaders of thought in Nigeria in collaboration with the June 12 Pro Democracy Movement of Nigeria, will also canvass for, what they call, a peoples’ constitution, and pay tribute to late Chief MKO Abiola and other heroes and heroines of the June 12 democratic struggle. Democracy Day symbolizes the restoration of democracy in 1999 as commemorated on June 12, which is the day, in 1993, that Late Abiola’s presidential electoral victory was wrongly cancelled. Until 2018, the day was celebrated annually on May 29 even though Lagos and other South West states celebrated what was formerly called Abiola Day on June 12. However, according to a statement by the planning committee for the 2024 annual Democracy Day Anniversary, the event will be a major national democracy rally for a people’s constitution in Nigeria with the theme: “Securing the Future of Nigeria through a Democratic People’s Constitution.” The statement signed by the chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Prof Anthony Kila, said the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu will address the national rally which will be chaired by former secretary general of the Commonwealth of Nations and chairman of the Patriots, Chief Emeka Anyaoku. Others listed to give a goodwill message are, Dr Olisa Agbakoba SAN, Former President of the NBA, Prof Attahiru Jega, Former Chairman of INEC and Senator Shehu Sanni are also expected to lead the anniversary conversation on securing the future of Nigeria through a democratic constitution reform process. “Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, who was earlier scheduled to provide the keynote address at the occasion has now been replaced, due to very pressing engagements and his place taken by former governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi and Former Military Governor of Kaduna State and June 12 Activist, Col Umar Dangiwa, who are respectively billed to pioneer broad interventions on the anniversary theme tagged “Securing the Future of Nigeria through a democratic People’s Constitution,” the statement added. It however added that leading pro democracy stakeholders and activists in the country, who are invited to x ray and discuss the key note submissions at the event are Prof Pat Utomi, Barr Femi Falana, SAN, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, Prof Jibrin Ibrahim, Amb (Hon) Nkoyo Toyo, Alhaji Shettima Yerima, Otunba Dele Momodu, Hajia (Dr) Bilikisu Magoro, Ann Kio Briggs. It also noted that special interventions and remarks are to be provided at the national colloquium by notable leaders of thought and political leaders, who include, General Alabi Akinriade, General Ike Nwachukwu, Elder Solomon Asemota, SAN, Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, Obong Victor Attah, Prof Anya O Anya, Rt Hon Aminu Tambuwal, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi, Mr Donald Duke, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Prof Mike Ozekhome, SAN. Others are the president of the NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, president of TUC, Comrade Festus Osifo, Prof Okey Ikechukwu, the National Youth Leader of the 3rd Force, Abayomi Rotimi Mighty, Obongawan Barbara Etim-James, Deacon Chris Iyovwaye and Veteran Olawale Okunniyi (Veteran Che), general secretary of The Patriots. “A roll call of Honours for nominated Heroes and Heroines of the present democratic rule in Nigeria will also be undertaken by the conveners at the historic event.“Finally, this year’s anniversary celebration, as scheduled by the Local Organising Committee, LOC, will be rounded off with a colourful motorcade procession from…


KILLING OF SECURITY AGENTS ONLY GETS LOUDER WHEN IT HAPPENS IN SOUTH EAST – SHEHU SANI Former Nigerian senator, dramatist, and human rights activist Senator Shehu Sani has condemned the killings of seven Nigerian police officers and several civilians in Zamfara State on social media. According to him, the number of security personnel killed in Nigeria only goes up when these killings take place in the southeast of the nation. Senator Shehu Sani tweeted: “The killing of seven Policemen & other civilians in Zamfara is condemnable. The atrocities of this criminals must not go unpunished. I believe we will triumph over terror. “But it’s sad that the killing of our security agents only gets a louder outrage when it happens in the South East.” Nigerians and social media users have responded to Senator Shehu Sani’s tweet. Some have wished for the deceased person’s soul to rest in peace, while others have applauded him for speaking up.


APC LEADING NIGERIA FROM CRISIS TO CRISIS SINCE 2015 – LUKMAN A former National Vice Chairman North-West of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has lamented that the ruling party has been leading the country from crisis to crisis since it came to power in 2015. Lukman, in a statement issued Saturday, said the only slight difference between APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was that APC came with a vision which was well articulated in the manifesto of the party. He, however, said that having won the 2015 elections, the first casualty was the APC manifesto. Lukman noted: “It was discarded and like the PDP, the APC continue to lead ‘Nigeria from one crisis to another, lurching deeper into political anarchy, economic decline and social disillusionment.’ “Nothing changed as the APC, despite all the plans it had ‘for security and advancement of Nigerians,’ lacked ‘the wherewithal to’ implement its vision. With that, sadly, the APC ‘thrived on the maxim; promise (everything), do nothing.’” “It is quite painful to admit that the crisis of insecurity in the country today, is worse than it was in 2015. It has further deepened the economic crisis because many farmers have abandoned their farms.“Some of the gains achieved in agricultural production because of some of the policies of the Buhari administration, such as Anchor Borrower and the ban on the importation of food items, which helped to incentivise agricultural production, were eroded by the crisis of insecurity.”


TINUBU INCOMPETENT, ONLY GOOD AT RIGGING – AISHA YESUFU Activist, Aisha Yesufu, has criticised President Bola Tinubu’s administration over the commissioning of the Vice President’s lodge. Yesufu said the lodge demonstrates that the current administration is only good at rigging. She wondered how N21 billion could be spent on the structure without a good landscaping design. Posting on X, the chieftain of the Labour Party (LP) said the structure was shabby and an example of incompetence. She wrote: “The incompetence is so glaring, even to themselves. How do you accept this shabby lawn? “The N21 billion was not enough to cover landscaping? How do you come out of your house and the front is looking like a kids’ abandoned football field? Rigging is the only thing they know how to focus on.” On Friday, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu commissioned the Vice President’s lodge. Tinubu said providing a suitable residence for the Vice President symbolised respect for the office and the individual who occupies it. Represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, the president said the action was not merely a matter of convenience but a reflection of the present administration’s commitment to providing leaders with the tools and resources they need to effectively discharge their duties and serve the Nigerian people with integrity and dedication. President Tinubu acknowledged that the VP’s residence project had faced numerous challenges over the years, including delays and abandonment by previous administrations.He said, “Rather than dwell on past shortcomings, we have chosen to seize this opportunity to demonstrate our resolve to confront obstacles head-on and deliver on the promises made to the Nigerian people in line with our Renewed Hope Agenda, which has the completion of inherited projects as one of its cardinal objectives.”


PETER OBI HAILS SOUTH AFRICAN ELECTION, SAYS NIGERIA’S 2023 POLL SHOW OF SHAME Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, has praised the recent South African election results as a prime example of a transparent and efficient democratic electoral process. He contrasted this with Nigeria’s 2023 general election, which he referred to as a “show of shame.” Recall that Obi was the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate in the last general election. In a thread on his official X handle on Saturday, Peter Obi stressed that this stark difference is a painful reminder of Nigeria’s ongoing struggles with democratic governance. He commended the robustness and transparency of the South African election, particularly highlighting their seamless online dissemination of results as a testament to their commitment to democratic principles and technological advancement. However, Obi lamented the lack of transparency and controversy surrounding Nigeria’s electoral process. Obi wrote: “The outcome of the recent South African election results remains a shining example of what a transparent and efficient democratic electoral process should look like. “With about 60% voter turnout, over 90% of polling stations opening on time, and allowing diaspora voting, the results and updates were provided in real-time without any technical glitches during the election. “This demonstrated the robustness and transparency of their system. The seamless online dissemination of results further highlights their commitment to democratic principles and technological advancement. “This is in stark contrast to the ‘show of shame’ that the giant of Africa, Nigeria, presented to the world in 2023. Nigeria’s 2023 election, with less than 30% voter turnout and over 60% of polling stations starting late, no diaspora voting, and plagued by allegations of fraud and widespread irregularities, experienced all forms of glitches despite enormous expenditure to the tune of about a billion dollars (direct allocation of ₦313 billion and donor agencies’ support). “The process has been widely discredited. The differences between the two countries’ electoral processes are both stark and lamentable. South Africa’s Election Results Center, with its state-of-the-art electronic board, showcased results with unparalleled precision and speed. “Meanwhile, Nigeria’s electoral process is mired in controversy and lacks transparency. This glaring juxtaposition is a painful reminder of our country’s ongoing struggles with democratic governance. “It underscores the urgent need for comprehensive electoral reforms to ensure that our elections are free, fair, and credible. We must learn from South Africa’s example and strive to build a system that restores the people’s faith in our democracy.“The time for action is now, and we cannot afford to delay any longer in addressing these critical issues for a new Nigeria is POssible!”


AGAIN, INEC CANCELS ENUGU SOUTH URBAN RERUN Anxious voters were again disappointed on Saturday as the rerun election for the Enugu South Urban State Constituency failed to hold. It would be recalled that the Labour Party, LP, candidate for the State House of Assembly Constituency, Mr. Bright Ngene was declared winner of the March 18, 2023, House of Assembly election and was sworn-in, but the election was nullified by the court for being inconclusive. As early as 7 am, voters had clustered in the affected polling units but no official of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, showed up. The LP, candidate for the election, Mr Ngene, who was at the polling centre, expressed sadness over the development. He said there was no information available to him and his party that the election would not hold. Ngene, who said rumour was flying that the election has been postponed, cautioned that the INEC was a creation of the constitution and should act in accordance with the laws. He said postponement of an election should follow due process and parties communicated. However, when journalists reached out to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in charge of Enugu State, Dr Chukwuemeka Chukwu, he confirmed that the election had been postponed. “We have cancelled the exercise, that was on Wednesday. We made a press release to inform them that it would not hold,” he said. Asked whether a new date has been fixed, he answered “no date yet; we hope that the commission will come up with a date any time soon.” This is the third time that the court-ordered rerun would suffer a glitch. The REC in charge of Anambra State was drafted to conduct the election the last time following the suspension of the Enugu REC. However, midway into voting, some thugs stormed the voting areas and destroyed voting materials. This necessitated the re-scheduling of the election for today, Saturday, June 8, 2027. When contacted to know if the shift was communicated to his party, the LP Chairman in Enugu, Barr Casmir Agbo declined comment. “Go and ask INEC, direct your question to INEC. I decline comment,” he said. On his part, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate for the election, Hon Sam Ngene said the postponement of the exercise was duly communicated to his party.


WHY NIGERIA DOES NOT NEED REGIONAL GOVT, BY DR. AKALI Barely 48 hours after the reintroduction of the old colonial national anthem by President Tinubu in cahoots with the Akpabio-led National Assembly, a so-called ‘bill’ for an act to replace the 1999 Presidential constitution with a regional government has surfaced online. The social media was awash with the controversial proposal. The sponsors of the regional arrangement have their plans mapped out already as the distasteful ‘draft bill’ although written by a previously unknown individual, one Dr Akin Fapohunda went viral. The sequence of events to ramp-up sentiments and pump the regional agenda into the mentality of Nigerians was followed by a high-pitch debate on both social and mainstream media. These sequences of events are meant to test the waters towards a final daring move to present the bill on the floor of the National Assembly and possibly foist a regional system on Nigeria. We must bear in mind that a change to a regional government is not possible under a civilian administration because a civilian government cannot suspend the 1999 constitution. If the politicians do so, they have lost their seats because it is the 1999 constitution that brought them to office in the first place. Only a military government can return the country to regions by suspending Nigeria’s constitution as they do when they take over, and replacing it with a constitutional model of their choice. The Nigerian military actually created the presidential system to heal wounds and unify the country after the Civil War in 1967, so anyone trying to change the current presidential system back to a regional government is in effect, fighting the military. The current presidential system was applied by the military during the Second Republic in 1979 because the regional arrangement had failed and had balkanised Nigeria into mini-states and created a culture of hate amongst the peoples in the regions. If Nigeria couldn’t survive the regional arrangement in the First Republic, it is extremely doubtful if it can today. A regional government in Nigeria will always promote war because of the deep mistrust between the constituent units. The issue really is not about the regional model but the consequences of such models on most importantly, the unity, sovereignty and corporate existence of Nigeria. Remember, even those who know the terrain very well including former Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar have advised President Tinubu to learn from past mistakes that led to the Civil War in order to promote the unity of the country and avoid a potential military takeover. This advice given by the highly experienced former Head of State in reference to Tinubu’s regional agenda is something to ponder about. I feel and strongly too, that our dear country Nigeria is too fragile to survive a regional or parliamentary system. Currently, there is an unconventional ideological dismemberment of Nigeria. This is evidenced by the existence of major renegade secessionist cum terrorist groups such as IPOB, Boko haram and Yoruba nation agitators, who will take advantage of any regional arrangement to declare their own country and by implication, spur a civil war in Nigeria. The clear red signals in the event of President Tinubu forcing a regional system on Nigeria are unmistakable as follows: The so-called Indigeneous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East geopolitical zone, a terrorist and secessionist group is calling for an end to Nigeria and a so-called presumptive state of Biafra. They are running riot in the South East, killing innocent people including our gallant soldiers. The Boko Haram terrorists have been waging a war to cut off three states out of Nigeria namely, Borno, Yobe and Adamawa since 2009. If not for the commendable efforts of our gallant soldiers in…


HOUSE OF REPS TURNS DOWN BILL ON REGIONALISM The House of Representatives in Nigeria has taken a firm stance on the contentious bill seeking to reinstate regional governments in the country. Following extensive deliberations and consultations, the House has officially rejected the bill, citing concerns over its potential implications on the nation’s unity, governance structure, and socio-political dynamics. In a session characterized by impassioned debates, lawmakers from various political divides voiced their reservations about the proposed legislation. Many argued that reverting to regional governments could exacerbate ethnic tensions, undermine national cohesion, and roll back the progress made in promoting inclusivity and equal representation. Additionally, proponents of the rejection highlighted the need to focus on strengthening existing governmental structures, enhancing decentralization efforts, and addressing the root causes of socio-economic disparities across the nation. They emphasized the importance of fostering unity in diversity and promoting a sense of belonging among all Nigerians, regardless of their regional or ethnic backgrounds. The decision by the House of Representatives reflects a broader consensus among lawmakers and stakeholders who view the bill as a potential threat to Nigeria’s stability and democratic development. While acknowledging the historical context and grievances that underpin the call for regional governments, the majority of legislators believe that pursuing such a course would be counterproductive and risk further polarizing the country. Moving forward, the rejection of the bill signals a commitment by the House of Representatives to uphold the principles of federalism, inclusivity, and national unity.Lawmakers pledged to explore alternative avenues for addressing the concerns raised by proponents of regional governments while safeguarding the integrity and unity of the Nigerian state.