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Constitution Amendment or Legislative Coup? Our Legislators Have Gone Mad Again

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Nigeria's National Assembly

In April 2015, former President Goodluck Jonathan declined assenting his signature on the 2015 proposed amended 1999 Constitution citing irregularities in its passage, whittling down the powers of the President by the legislators, and transferring some of these powers to themselves (and to the judiciary).

Three items featured in the 2015 Constitution amendment. They are;

  1. LIFE PENSION for the Senate President, Speaker of Representative, Deputy Senate President, and Deputy Speaker of the House.
  2. Immunity for the aforementioned office holders from arrest and criminal prosecution
  3. Stripping of the President the power to assent or veto any constitutional amendment. Meaning, they (legislators) should be both the only players in the process.

Nigerians were lucky that the former President not only refused to assent his signature but also approached the Supreme Court through the Attorney General of The Federation to halt the proposed bill, which the court did in May 2015.

Now it appears that the legislators have ‘gone mad’ again by reviving such items in the ongoing constitution review.

THEIR IMMORAL DEMAND FOR LIFE PENSION

As at today, many states are having difficulty to meet financial obligations to state workers and execute projects, yet they are still mandated by their state laws to pay huge money to former Governors and their Deputies in the name of pension irrespective of the offices these former state executives occupy after leaving office.

It is even funny that some of these Senators like Senate President Bukola Saraki, Sani Yerima, Muhammed Goje, Godswill Akpabio, George Akume etc were not only exGovernors but are heavy beneficiaries of the pension largesse at their respective state level chiefly due to the immoral pension that they proposed and signed into law when they were in office. Yet, they still want more money in the name of life pension to add to their already bloated financial war chest at the masses expense.

The non former Governors among them like Sen Ike Ekweremadu, who is the Chief leader of the proposal seem to want to join the train of those that are feeding fat (for life) on government resources.

Is it not immoral and wicked that after enjoying fat salaries and allowances while in office, the legislative leaders want to keep feeding fat outside office just like the former governors?

THE IMPLICATION IF PASSED

Should the legislators have their way, it means that SP Saraki will be entitled to DOUBLE life pension from Kwara state and federal government.

It also means that people like Governors Aminu Mansari and Saminu Tambawal of Katsina and Sokoto states respectively will be entitled to fat salaries/allowances as Governors, Life pension as Former Speakers, and life pension as former governors when they leave office.

This will also attract more outgoing governors to seek solace in the Senate and fight for SP or DSP offices to ‘enlarge their coast’. This will also attract more former speakers and Deputies to seek election to be Governor or Deputy in order to legally enlarge their financial powerhouse. How sustainable is this?

Let us imagine that a former Speaker/deputy is elected to serve his state as Governor. After serving the state, he was further elected to go to the Senate and eventually made Senate President or Deputy Senate President. Then he moved up to emerge Presidential candidate or running mate to a candidate, and emerge victorious. What is the implication with respect to the controversial proposal?

It simply means the man will be entitled to a life pension as former President/Vice, Governor/Deputy, Speaker/Deputy, and Senate President/Deputy. Who says politicians are not smart?

I’m sure that if this is allowed, it won’t take long for Speakers and Deputies at the state level to ‘help themselves’ out.

ON ISSUE OF IMMUNITY FOR NASS LEADERS:

In the first instance, the concept of immunity for governors and their deputies is irresponsible and absurd. Even the United States whose democracy we look up to don’t have such arrangement. While we are calling for the stripping of Governors and Deputies of immunity, the legislators are coming with their own immunity demand.

Already, these legislators enjoy immunity from prosecution on anything they say or do on the floor of their respective chambers, why are they seeking for more if not that they have to protect their skeletons?

STRIPPING THE PRESIDENT ASSENT POWERS:

I think the legislators need to be reminded that the concept of democracy demands checks and balance. Stripping the President the power of Assent simply means introduction and promotion of legislative coup. They want to be the people to make laws and shove same laws down the throat of Nigerians via the instrument of the law. This is highly irresponsible of them, and won’t be allowed to stay.

This is tantamount to legislative coup.

SECTION 9 OF THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD BE AMENDED:

Section 9 of the Constitution that deals with the process of amendment of the 1999 CFRN need to be amended to give the masses role to play in the amendment process.

Specifically, sub sections (2) and (3) that vest power to amend constitution on at least 2/3 members of both Chambers of the National Assembly, and resolution of at least 2/3 States Houses of Assembly should be amended by stripping the state legislators of such of power, and vesting same on the people through INEC organised and well monitored referendum.

This is the only true way Nigerians can be said to be part of the process.

HYPOCRISY OF SOUTHERN LEGISLATORS:

I shall end this piece by expressing disappointment in legislators from the southern region, specifically the southsouth and southeast.

Before the amendment kicked off, majority of these legislators including DSP Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Ben Murray Bruce of twitter fame, and several others were always quick to shout how restructuring and true federalism is best for the country. Instead of these people to be the chief promoters of restructuring and true federalism in this ongoing amendment, they preoccupy themselves with only amendments that would favor them. Very unfortunate…

May God Bless Us All and Bless Nigeria

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Iran Mourns: Helicopter Crash Claims Lives of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian

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Ebrahim Raisi

A tragic helicopter crash has claimed the lives of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, sending shockwaves across the nation and plunging the country into mourning.

The fatal incident occurred in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, where the helicopter carrying the two senior officials and several other passengers crashed, resulting in the loss of all on board.

The crash site, now a scene of charred wreckage, stands as a somber reminder of the untimely demise of these key figures in Iranian politics.

President Raisi, who assumed office in August 2021, was widely regarded for his commitment to serving the Iranian people and advancing the nation’s interests on the global stage.

His tenure as president was marked by efforts to strengthen Iran’s position in regional affairs and enhance diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.

Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian played a pivotal role in shaping Iran’s foreign policy, particularly in fostering closer ties with neighboring nations in the Middle East, including Arab countries across the Gulf.

His diplomatic acumen and dedication to advancing Iran’s interests earned him respect both domestically and internationally.

The news of their tragic deaths has elicited an outpouring of grief and condolences from leaders and citizens alike, both within Iran and abroad.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim expressed his deep sadness over the loss, highlighting President Raisi’s commitment to justice, peace, and the upliftment of the Muslim world.

Similarly, the European Union extended its sincere condolences to the families of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian, acknowledging the profound impact of their untimely passing on the Iranian nation.

The helicopter crash not only robbed Iran of two of its most prominent leaders but also left a void in the country’s political landscape.

As the nation grapples with this immense loss, tributes pour in from all corners, commemorating the contributions of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian to the advancement of Iran’s interests and the well-being of its people.

The legacy of these esteemed leaders will endure in the hearts and minds of Iranians, serving as a guiding light for future generations as they navigate the complexities of governance and diplomacy in an ever-changing world.

Iran mourns the loss of two of its finest sons, whose dedication and service will be remembered for years to come.

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DR Congo Thwarts Coup Attempt: Leader Killed, Several Arrested

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Vital Kamerhe

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) found itself on the brink of chaos as an attempted coup unfolded in its capital, Kinshasa.

The government swiftly acted to quell the insurgency, resulting in the death of the coup leader and the arrest of several others involved.

The assault, which occurred on Sunday morning, sent shockwaves through the mineral-rich central African nation, already grappling with political instability and external pressures.

The target of the attack was the residence of Vital Kamerhe, a prominent political figure in Congo’s landscape and a candidate for the head of the National Assembly.

Led by Christian Malanga, the self-exiled leader of the New Zaire movement, the attackers descended upon Kinshasa in two groups, initiating their assault on Kamerhe’s residence.

Despite the initial skirmish that claimed the lives of two police officers, the attempted coup lacked the military support necessary to pose a significant threat to the government’s stability.

After the failed attempt to seize power, Malanga and his cohorts proceeded to the office of President Tshisekedi, where they brazenly defaced Congolese flags and hoisted the banner of the former Zaire.

However, their actions were swiftly met with resistance from the Republican Guard, resulting in a fatal confrontation that claimed the lives of multiple attackers, including Malanga himself.

The involvement of three American citizens among the assailants adds a layer of complexity to the unfolding situation.

While details surrounding their participation remain murky, the revelation has drawn the attention of both Congolese authorities and the U.S. government, signaling potential diplomatic ramifications.

Vital Kamerhe, the intended target of the coup, emerged unscathed from the ambush on his residence. However, his absence from public discourse following the incident leaves many questions unanswered regarding his stance and potential involvement in the foiled insurgency.

The failed coup underscores the fragile political landscape of the DRC, where power struggles and external interests converge amid the backdrop of immense mineral wealth.

As the nation navigates the aftermath of this brazen attempt to destabilize its government, concerns over internal cohesion and foreign intervention loom large on the horizon.

In the wake of the thwarted coup, Congolese authorities are expected to intensify efforts to maintain stability and root out any remnants of dissent.

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Netanyahu Stands Firm as US Halts Bomb Shipment Over Rafah Invasion Warning

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Netanyahu

Amidst escalating tensions between Israel and the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has adopted a defiant stance following the US decision to halt a shipment of bombs and warned against Israel’s potential invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

In a bold statement, Netanyahu declared, “If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone,” emphasizing Israel’s resolve to pursue its objectives despite opposition.

The Prime Minister’s comments, delivered via social media and a subsequent interview with American talk show host Dr. Phil, underscore Israel’s determination to address security threats posed by the Gaza Strip, particularly by Hamas militants operating in Rafah.

Netanyahu reiterated the necessity of military action in Rafah to eliminate the remaining Hamas battalions, condemned Hamas’s history of violence and reiterated Israel’s commitment to achieving victory and ensuring the safety of its citizens.

The US administration, led by President Joe Biden, expressed concerns over the potential humanitarian impact of an Israeli invasion of Rafah, prompting the decision to withhold additional offensive weapons shipments to Israel.

Biden’s statement echoed broader international apprehensions about the escalation of violence and civilian casualties in the conflict-stricken region.

However, Netanyahu remained resolute in Israel’s approach, asserting the country’s right to defend itself against security threats. He emphasized Israel’s efforts to minimize civilian casualties and facilitate the evacuation of civilians from Rafah before any military action.

Despite the US’s decision to pause the bomb shipment, Netanyahu affirmed Israel’s commitment to its longstanding alliance with the US. He acknowledged past disagreements between the two nations but expressed optimism about resolving current tensions through dialogue and cooperation.

In response, White House officials reiterated the US’s support for Israel’s security while urging restraint and emphasizing the need to avoid actions that could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The administration clarified that the decision to halt the bomb shipment was aimed at preventing potential civilian casualties in Rafah.

The confrontation between Israel and the US underscores the complexity of navigating regional conflicts and balancing strategic interests. As tensions persist, both nations face the challenge of reconciling their respective security imperatives with broader humanitarian concerns, seeking to avert further escalation while addressing the root causes of the conflict in the Middle East.

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