The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, last week, reeled out reasons why the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should consider holding 2023 general elections same day.
Kalu’s suggestions have since generated ripples, as the polity is swarmed by debates on how best to conduct free, fair and credible elections as Buhari prepares to exit power.
We found Kalu’s disposition, and two other stories, enthralling as they gave Nigerians a lot to chew over the past week.
Is Kalu for real?
Senator Orji Kalu, on July 29, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to consider holding 2023 general elections same day.
Kalu, in a statement said, among others: “INEC should conduct the 2023 elections same day, as staggered elections are unnecessarily expensive. The conduct of the elections on different days gives room for rigging, thuggery and several vices. It also puts the lives of the voters and INEC officials to intense danger.”
While Kalu’s suggestions are not new, they, no doubt, reinforce the call on the leadership of the country to seek more cost-effective ways of organizing the race into elective offices.
Many have knocked Kalu for his supposed pontifications and doubt his claims to any moral standing as they allege he carries with him too much political baggage to advise on the best way forward.
But be that as it may, some have also argued that his submissions must be taken on their merit as the country contends with a corrupt political class that seeks to exploit every opportunity to shortchange the system.
Guarantees that Kalu’s proposal may turn things around, if given a chance, sits on quicksand, and this is because he and his colleagues have shown, through their rejection of electronic transmission of election results, that they are more driven by narrow group interests than larger national good.
Is Senator Orji Uzor Kalu for real? Time will tell, but what would matter is how he honestly pursues his new found agenda while co-opting his other colleagues in the process.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“Our role is to advise and at the same time make laws, but we always have the last resort (and) after this last resort of this summit, if nothing is done — brainstorming, spending resources to bring out solutions — and the executive does not do anything after some months of it, definitely, we will call for the resignation of the President (Muhammadu Buhari). We have the power to impeach the President when he can no longer secure the lives and properties of Nigerians?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
Ekweremadu’s environmental concerns
On July 31, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Ike Ekweremadu warned that Nigeria, and Africa at large, were at the risk of harsher environmental challenges in the near future.
Speaking in Enugu, Ekweremadu had said among others:
“Today, we have desertification still happening in the North, gully erosion in the East, coastal erosion in the Niger Delta and riverine areas. This means that if we don’t do something substantial in the next few years, all of us will probably converge at the middle of Nigeria because all these may have taken over our environment.”
Ekweremadu’s warning is one that should be taken seriously but there is a temptation to see through his seeming half-hearted environmental campaigns. Here, we are reminded of his onetime opposition to legislation for the introduction of electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Beyond the optics, therefore, it would be great to see Ekweremadu leading from the front and committing himself through concerted efforts to better the environment.
Maximising new Lagos airport terminal
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Smart Adeyemi and his counterpart at the House of Representatives, Nnolim Nnaji, on July 30, called on the Federal Government to put the new Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos terminal, to use.
They made the call during an inspection visit to the facility in Lagos.
“We think there is need for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the Federal Government to ensure that all obstacles disrupting the take-off of the terminal building are removed. So that Nigerians can benefit from the multi-billion Naira expended here. I do not think that anyone will be able to defend this since the project has been completed. It must not be allowed to be abandoned,” Adeyemi said.
As valid as Adeyemi and his counterpart, Nnaji’s submission sounds, the need to ascertain why the terminal has not been fully deployed cannot be over-stressed.
A further interrogation is justified by the fact that most of the infrastructures being executed by the Buhari administration are funded through external loans and must not be made to lie fallow as idle assets.
Answer: Dachung Bagos
Bagos made the statement, on April 29, 2021, while speaking on Channels Television programme. He represents Jos South/Jos East Federal constituency at the Green Chamber of the National Assembly.
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