​BREAKING: Implement judicial autonomy, Senate tells governors

The Senate on Monday asked governors across the 36 states of Nigeria to save the nation’s democracy from collapsing by granting full Independence to the judicial arm of government.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, stated this while reacting to the protest staged at the National Assembly by the Nigerian Bar Association on the issue.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had last year, signed into law, the Executive Order No 10 of 2020 cited as “the implementation of financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary Order, 2020”.

The Order granted powers to the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct from the allocations due to a state from the Federation Account, any sums appropriated for the legislature or judiciary of that state which the state fails to release to its legislature or judiciary as the case may be, and to pay the funds directly to the state’s legislature or judiciary concerned.

Speaking with journalists, Bamidele said judicial autonomy was non-negotiable and that state governors should emulate the Federal Government by granting independence to the arm of government.

He said, “It is laughable that at this point, we are still grappling with the need to grant independence to the judiciary arm of government at the state level and at the local government levels.

“The National Assembly has been making laws that would guarantee full autonomy to the judiciary at the Federal level.

“The National Assembly does not make laws for the states, such power resides in the state Houses of Assembly.

“Judiciary at the Federal Capital Territory is independent because we have done what we (National Assembly) are supposed to do.

“What is next is for the state Houses of Assembly to do what they are supposed to do.

“As a principle, and as a policy, members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, have tried not to call on those who are protesting to stop such protests.

“We do not want protests but definitely, we would rather talk more to state governors houses of Assembly and other stakeholders to do the needful in the overriding public interest.

“We cannot continue to call on the judiciary to give peace a chance when we know the conditions under which they work cannot guarantee a passionate and enhanced delivery of justice.

“We are talking about judicial reforms, we are talking about the need for justice sector reforms.

“This is central and crucial to the independence of the judiciary in this country. We must not be left behind by the rest of the civilized world.

“Nobody stands to lose anything by granting independence to judiciary at the state level since it has been done at the national level.

“The fact that workers and staff of federal judiciary are joining the protest is only in solidarity with their colleagues at the state levels.

“It is a union matter and we do not have control over it. We are hereby calling on the state governors to do the needful because the independence of the judiciary is non-negotiable.

“No democracy can survive without being founded on the rule of law and independent judiciary.”

Source: Punch Newspaper

​INSECURITY: PDP tasks Buhari on state of emergency on security

The National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prince Uche Secondus has called on the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on security nationwide.

Speaking during the party’s condolence visit to Odumakin’s widow, Dr Joe Okei Odumakin in Lagos, Prince Secondus described late Yinka Odumakin as a national voice lost in a time of crisis.

According to the PDP Chieftain: “He’s one of Nigeria’s golden voice. As he stood for devolving power to the people which everyone called Restructuring because the peoples vote matters. Nigeria will be a better place if they (the ruling party) will take into account all that they stood for. We believe that he’s one strong, credible voice that the nation has lost at this time of crisis.

“We will continue to carry the banal of the truth and exemplary life of our dear friend and brother. No one should rejoice that he’s gone because they too will go. Your husband is a lost for Nigeria because many people are in pain.”

Reacting to the call for secession by some groups, Secondus said: “There’s nothing like secession. Yinka believed in one Nigeria. He also believed that power should return to the people by way of Restructuring.

“The concentration of power to the centre no longer works. As we are over 200million people. People must be strengthened to carry out economic activities.

On the call for the removal of the Minister for communication, Dr Isa Pantami, Prince Seconds explained that his party, “PDP, urged the federal government to do a thorough investigation, and if they confirm it, he should be shown the way out.

“The most painful is that the security architecture of our country has broken, the country is in dire serious crisis. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a national state of emergency on security. People are dying and we don’t even know their numbers. Why must we continue to lose our people?

On his part, the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, in his condolence message described the late Odumakin as a voice lost during perilous times of the nation.

According to the Edo State governor: “Yinka, I miss you especially in a time when we are looking for a voice to speak during perilous times in our nation. You played your part, you spoke up to me as you did for many others that were oppressed and disadvantaged Nigerians.”

Responding, Odumakin’s widow thanked the PDP team for coming, said: ” I know he’s here. He may not be with us physically but he promised to be with us”.

Source: Vanguard News Nigeria

​INEC threatens to blacklist parties with violent congresses, conventions

Disturbed by the growing resort to destruction of its property and attack on its personnel by partisans, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has threatened to blacklist political parties whose members or supporters go haywire during their Congresses and or conventions.

INEC said it has watched with utmost dismay and profound concern the recurrent acrimony, violence, and destruction of property, including the Commission’s property and equipment, which have characterized some recent political party congresses across the country.

National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, in a statement issued Monday in Abuja, noted that the level of violence is making it very difficult for the commission to exercise its statutory oversight responsibility.

He said; “This is the season of political party congresses and conventions to elect their leaders at various levels of party organization and INEC is mandated by law to monitor them.

“These meetings constitute a very important aspect of the electoral process and democracy generally in Nigeria.

“The level of violence in some of the Congresses is making it extremely difficult for the Commission to exercise its statutory oversight responsibility enshrined in Sections 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). In one such Congress in Kaduna recently, violence broke out leading to the destruction of the Commission’s ballot boxes.

“Political parties are reminded that they have a clear obligation to ensure that their Congresses and Conventions are orderly, democratic and in accordance with extant legal framework, their own constitutions, and guidelines, as well as INEC’s regulations and guidelines.

“This Commission will not stand askance and watch party conventions and congresses degenerate into farcical rituals and violent fiascos that threaten lives and destroy property.

“For the avoidance of doubt, INEC will henceforth reconsider its involvement in these events, should they continue to put lives of members of the public and staff of the Commission at risk.

“Henceforth, there will be far-reaching consequences in any situation where party congresses and conventions degenerate into violence and destruction of INEC property.

“Apart from replacing such destroyed materials, parties may be blacklisted from the receipt of INEC materials for their activities in the future.

“The Commission may also withdraw its staff from monitoring such violent political party meetings, with the resultant non-recognition of their outcomes”.

The Commission also reminded political parties of forthcoming primaries to select their candidates for upcoming elections and bye-elections, particularly those for the Anambra State Governorship election and the Federal Capital Territory FCT Area Council elections.

INEC said parties must stick to the respective Timetable and Schedule of Activities for these elections as released by the Commission, which have been communicated to them and are available at the INEC website (www.inec.gov.ng).

“Parties must ensure that their primaries are peaceful and orderly. Above all, they must adhere strictly to the Electoral Act, INEC Regulations and Guidelines, as well as party constitutions and rules, which are domiciled with the Commission.

Finally, in the conduct of their internal processes, political parties must hold themselves to the same standards they hold the Commission during elections namely, openness, fairness, adherence to rules and peaceful conduct.

“INEC remains deeply concerned about the acrimony and violence within parties such that there are now more suits in various courts of law arising from party congresses and primaries than from elections conducted by the Commission. Still, the Commission will continue to work with political parties in support of their internal functioning in order to build strong and democratic parties in Nigeria”, Okoye stated.

Source: Vanguard News Nigeria