The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, last week, warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against heeding to calls to extend the deadline for political parties to conduct their primary elections.
We tracked two other stories from the National Assembly (NASS) for your reading delight.
1. Sticking to INEC’s deadline
On May 11, Senator Kalu told INEC to sanction any political party that failed to meet with its deadline of holding party primaries.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission has been inundated with calls to extend the conduct of primary elections beyond June 3. The Commission had in February earmarked April 4 to June 3 for the conduct of party primaries. Amidst these calls for extension, I urge INEC to take disciplinary actions on any party that fails to meet up with the designated dates,” he said in a statement.
Kalu’s talk, though tough, is important for political parties, including his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to sit up and do the right thing on time. The Senator’s submission underlines the seriousness that must be attached to the implementation of the country’s electoral processes which are often manipulated by devious politicians.
It is pleasing to note, thus far, that the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, as the nation’s electoral umpire, is insisting on laid down rules, and it is hoped that he would not be swayed by influential politicians intent on compromising the country’s laws.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“Today, civil servants are doing whatever they like. They have forgotten about ethical behaviours in the workplace. They’ve forgotten about values. President Muhammadu Buhari assembled people of integrity to come up with the Federal Republic of Nigeria National Ethics and Integrity Compliance Policy. We must back it up by law. There are cases of some workers slapping other Nigerians working under them simply because they are the Boss. All these will stop when the bill is passed.”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
2. Cancelling Africa’s debt
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on May 10, shared some outcomes of the deliberations of Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP) which focused on debt cancellation for African countries, as against debt review or relief.
“We talked about debts cancellation and debt forgiveness. We felt parliament should be involved and speak as one voice and speak to our creditors and make a case as to why we needed debt forgiveness,” he said , on the sidelines of the event.
The talk about debt forgiveness for African countries by Gbajabiamila and his counterparts is a manifestation of the deepening poverty and economic crunch that have hit the continent for long. It cannot also be distanced from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic which further impoverished African countries, and made most of them incapable of paying their debts.
Data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank, reveal that Gabon, Eritrea, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Togo, Congo, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Ghana, all have debt totalling more than 70% of their respective Gross Domestic Products (GDPs).
The wishes of the parliamentarians, unfortunately, is one that might prove very difficult to come by. Besides, there are concerns that China, which is, arguably, Africa’s biggest creditor subtly makes use of its loans to African countries to exert control on them.
Whatever be the case, it would be interesting to see how African parliamentarians go about this challenging task.
3. Peller’s entrepreneurship sermon
A member of the House of Representatives, Shina Peller, on May 10, charged Nigerian youths to focus more on entrepreneurship as it is one proven way to exit poverty, and unemployment.
“I will advise the youth to go for skills acquisitions because white-collar jobs are not available anymore. This is the time for our government to look inwards and give necessary support to the people at the grassroots. This is an antidote to economic hardship,” Peller said while addressing a coalition of progressive youths in Lagos.
While Peller’s preachments remain a way out of the stranglehold of unemployment, absence of an enabling environment has been the major hurdle for those who have harkened to the call.
Among many unresolved issues are the incidence of over taxation or double taxation, and poor infrastructure. This is amidst the troubling effect of insecurity in most parts of the country.
Government efforts at addressing these palpable obstacles have not yielded much.
Peller must rise above the realm of rhetoric, and use his good office to help formulate policies that can tackle the unemployment scourge. This would help entrepreneurs grow in their different endeavours, and inspire others to join.
Answer: Senator Ayo Akinyeluru
Akinyeluru made the statement, on March 19, 2022, in defence of a bill seeking to curb wealth acquisition among civil servants through illegal means, when passed into law. He is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
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