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Melaye Returns to Senate with Theatrics, Fuels Rumour of Defection

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Senator Dino Melaye
  • Melaye Returns to Senate with Theatrics, Fuels Rumour of Defection

It was drama galore wednesday when the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, stirred the Senate on the very first day of his resumption with a special request at plenary that he should be allowed to sit among PDP Senators.

Melaye’s move immediately set tongues wagging and provoking whirlwind rumour that he was perhaps sending a signal as to his next direction, given that he is an ally of the Senate President; both of them are equally key players in the defunct nPDP that is currently keeping its options open in its discussions with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with the likely option of decamping to the Action Democratic Party (ADP).

Melaye who came to the Senate Chambers at about 10.55 a.m limping with a walking stick and donning a neck brace had been away from plenary since last month to answer to criminal charges against him in his home state, spoke under Order 14 of the Senate Rules to request that he be allowed to henceforth sit at the section reserved for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senators.

His words: “I don’t feel comfortable sitting where I am now and if you don’t mind Mr. Senate President I will want to request that I be allowed henceforth to sit beside ranking Senator David Mark. I will be more relaxed and comfortable there than where I am sitting now”.

Melaye’s request charged the atmosphere in the Senate Chambers with senators speaking for and against the proposal.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio in supporting Melaye’s request cited Order 43 and Section 45 of the Constitution of Nigeria, saying he should be free to move and sit anywhere he likes within the Senate Chambers.

Akpabio for effect emphasised that Melaye and other Senators like him “are free to join us on this side anytime they wish to come as we are ready to provide best sitting positions for them as we are Senators of the Federal Republic and not along party lines.

Rising to oppose Melaye’s request, Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan and Chief Whip Olusola Adeyeye, quoting Constitutional Order 65 Section 2b warned that a bad precedence should not be set by institutionalising chaos if Melaye’s request is granted.

They advised Melaye to feel free to sit on any of the seats reserved for APC Senators “including those reserved for principal officers of the Senate”.

Summing up the contributions, Senate President Bukola Saraki, said there is the need to consider Melaye’s comfort and his state of mind with his return to the Senate.

He said based on this “we will accommodate Melaye’s request and will make his seat comfortable through the Chief Whip and Senate management”.

At this point, Melaye moved to the back of the PDP Senators’ wing at the Chambers and sat beside Senator Ben Murray-Bruce who warmly received him.

Name Corrupt N’Assembly Members

The Senate yesterday formally reacted to corruption allegations levelled against some members of the National Assembly by former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, saying he should be bold enough to reveal the identities of the said lawmakers.

Jega had at a public lecture held in Abuja on Monday to commemorate Democracy Day accused some National Assembly Committee Chairmen of demanding bribes from government agencies and parastatals before passing their budgets Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who spoke at plenary in reaction to Order 43 raised by Senator Isah Misau over Jega’s accusations wondered why Jega failed to mention names “if actually, he was sure of his facts.

Saraki who said he was present at the occasion where Jega made the allegations stated that such a statement was highly embarrassing.

According to him, the former INEC Chairman should bring the evidence to prove his bribery allegations.

“He should be specific and not make a blanket statement by mentioning names of those who told him that some National Assembly members give bribe and the affected law makers so that appropriate sanction can be taken.

“We are not trying to cover up for any lawmaker. If he has the proof he should just come up with it and wait for our action on it If not, the matter should be laid to rest”.

He stressed the commitment of Senate leadership towards the fight against corruption. Said he, “we are fully committed to the drive towards eradicating corruption in the system and will continue to do everything towards achieving this aim.

Senator Isah Misau had earlier while drawing the attention of the Senate to Jega’s allegation canvassed for a stern position to be taken by the Senate on the matter.

Expressing concern about the accusation, Misau wondered why Jega failed to disclose the identities of those involved ” if actually, he was sure of his facts”.

Invites OAU VC Over Sex for Marks Scandal

Also wednesday, the Senate resolved to invite the authorities of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife to appear before it to explain steps taken so far by the institution on the sex for marks allegation levelled against Prof. Richard Akindele by a post graduate student, Monica Osagie.

This followed a motion on the growing trend of sexual harassment in higher institutions of learning moved by Senator Biodun Olujimi which was adopted with a resolution to mandate the Senate Committees on Tertiary Institutions, Human Rights and Legal Matters to carry out full investigation of the case of Monica Osagie and the OAU lecturer ” in order to ensure that there is transparency and accountability and that satisfactory justice is done to the victim involved and our laws are further strengthened for effectiveness.

The Senate also urged House of Representatives to concur with the Senate on Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions (Prohibition) Bill ” which has been transmitted to the House as this will provide succour and a window of solace for victims of these kind of atrocities in our higher institutions of learning”.

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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Russia and North Korea Revive Military Pact, Heightening Tensions with US

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have revived a Cold War-era military pact.

The agreement, signed on Wednesday during Putin’s first visit to North Korea in 24 years, commits the two nations to provide immediate military assistance to each other if either is attacked.

This development is likely to exacerbate tensions with the United States and its allies.

The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty, as the pact is officially named, represents the most powerful treaty signed between the two countries, according to Kim.

“This treaty elevates our ties to an alliance,” he declared during the signing ceremony. The deal stipulates that if either nation is invaded by an armed force, the other will provide military and other assistance “with all the means at its disposal,” in line with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and the laws of both nations.

Putin’s visit to Pyongyang and the signing of the pact come on the heels of Kim’s trip to Russia in September, an event that has already resulted in a notable increase in arms transfers between the two countries, as confirmed by satellite imagery.

Despite the mounting evidence, both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied any such exchanges.

The renewed military alliance marks a significant escalation in the strategic partnership between Russia and North Korea, which had been relatively dormant since the end of the Cold War.

Analysts suggest that this move is a clear message of defiance to Western powers, particularly the United States, which has been involved in ongoing disputes with both nations over various geopolitical issues.

“The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty is for defensive purposes,” Kim stated, but experts warn that the alliance increases the risks for the US and its partners in responding to provocations from Moscow and Pyongyang. The treaty not only includes mutual defense commitments but also outlines plans to enhance cooperation in trade and investment, further solidifying the bilateral relationship.

Russian officials emphasized that the pact is a natural progression of the countries’ shared interests.

“This treaty is a testament to the deepening strategic and military cooperation between Russia and North Korea,” said Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister. “It is essential for maintaining regional stability and countering external threats.”

The US and its allies have expressed grave concerns over the implications of this agreement. “This treaty significantly alters the security landscape in East Asia,” stated a senior US State Department official. “It underscores the need for vigilance and reinforces the importance of our alliances in the region.”

Military analysts are closely watching the developments, noting that the alliance could embolden both nations to take more aggressive stances on the international stage.

“With this treaty, North Korea gains a powerful ally, while Russia secures a foothold in East Asia,” said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “It is a strategic maneuver that complicates the geopolitical calculus for the US and its partners.”

The reactivation of the military pact also comes at a time when Russia is deeply involved in the conflict in Ukraine, where it faces significant opposition from Western nations.

North Korea’s unreserved support for Putin’s actions in Ukraine, as articulated by Kim, further aligns the two nations against common adversaries.

As the international community grapples with the potential ramifications of this treaty, it is clear that the renewed alliance between Russia and North Korea represents a formidable challenge to the current global order.

The coming months will likely see increased diplomatic activity as nations reassess their strategies in light of this development.

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Cyril Ramaphosa Begins New Term Under Coalition Government

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Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in for another term as South Africa’s president on Wednesday, the beginning of a new era under a coalition government.

The ceremony held at the Nelson Mandela Amphitheater in the Union Buildings saw Ramaphosa take the oath of office before Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The event was attended by prominent dignitaries, including Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, Democratic Republic of Congo leader Felix Tshisekedi, and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, and was marked by a 21-gun salute and an air force flyover.

Ramaphosa’s reappointment comes three weeks after elections saw his party, the African National Congress (ANC), lose its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid.

The ANC secured just over 40% of the vote on May 29, with millions of former supporters either backing a splinter party led by ex-leader Jacob Zuma or abstaining due to dissatisfaction over high levels of poverty, unemployment, and crime.

In his inauguration address, Ramaphosa emphasized the resilience of South African democracy and the need for unity.

“The resilience of our democracy has once more been tested, and the people have spoken loudly that they choose peace and democracy over conflict,” he said. “The voters of South Africa did not give any single political party the full mandate to govern our country alone. They have directed us to work together to address their plight and realize their aspirations.”

The ANC’s unprecedented electoral outcome necessitated a power-sharing agreement with long-time rivals. The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and four other parties have agreed to join a government of national unity, supporting Ramaphosa’s leadership in exchange for cabinet and parliamentary positions.

This coalition is expected to prioritize economic growth, investment attraction, structural reforms, and sustainable management of state finances.

The rand strengthened to a level stronger than 18 per dollar for the first time in over ten months, and Johannesburg’s benchmark equity index reached a record high on Wednesday.

Market optimism is driven by the inclusion of business-friendly parties in the government, anticipated to bolster Ramaphosa’s reform agenda aimed at addressing power shortages, logistical challenges, and other economic impediments.

Despite criticism in his previous term for his consultative approach, which opponents labeled as indecisive, Ramaphosa reaffirmed his commitment to inclusive governance.

“Those who would like a president that is dictatorial, who is adventurous, who is reckless, will not find that in me,” he stated last month. “In me they will find a president who wants to consult. All these processes have often been seen as, ‘he is weak, he is not decisive.’ I am decisive, but I want to take people along with.”

The new coalition government faces significant challenges, including negotiating policy differences and accommodating politically powerful figures within the ANC and its partners.

The DA has already expressed concerns over the ANC’s uncosted national health insurance plan and its foreign policy stance.

Susan Booysen, director of research at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, noted the complexities ahead. “South Africa is really moving into this with minimal on-the-ground preparation and justification,” she said. “The devil is going to be in the exact detail. Once cabinet is announced, some basic agreement will have to be reached on policy positions and on what the red-line issues will be.”

As Ramaphosa begins his new term, the nation watches closely, hopeful that this coalition government can navigate the intricate landscape of South African politics and bring about the much-needed reforms and stability.

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Fubara Appoints and Swears in Caretaker Chairmen for All 23 Rivers State LGAs

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Siminalayi Fubara

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has appointed and sworn in new caretaker chairmen for all 23 local government areas.

This significant action followed swiftly after the House of Assembly, led by factional Speaker Victor Jumbo, screened and confirmed the nominees earlier in the day.

The process began on Tuesday when Governor Fubara submitted the list of nominees to the state House of Assembly.

According to a statement by the Clerk of the House, G.M. Gillis-West, the nominees were summoned for an early morning screening at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

The rapid succession of events underscores the urgency of the appointments amid ongoing political unrest in the state.

The political crisis intensified as former council chairmen, whose terms had expired, refused to vacate their offices.

This defiance prompted the need for a swift and firm resolution to ensure continuity and stability in local governance.

The swearing-in ceremony took place under tight security at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

Governor Fubara administered the oath of office to the first batch of eleven caretaker chairmen, with subsequent batches following promptly.

The newly appointed caretaker chairmen are:

  • Abua/Odua LGA: Madigai Dickson
  • Ahoada East LGA: Happy Benneth
  • Ahoada West LGA: Mr. Daddy John Green
  • Akuku Toru LGA: Otonye Briggs
  • Andoni LGA: Reginald Ekaan
  • Asari Toru LGA: Orolosoma Amachree
  • Bonny LGA: Alabota Anengi Barasua
  • Degema LGA: Anthony Soberekon
  • Eleme LGA: Brain Gokpa
  • Emouha LGA: David Omereji
  • Etche LGA: John Otamiri
  • Gokana LGA: Kenneth Kpeden
  • Ikwerre LGA: Darlington Orji
  • Khana LGA: Marvin Yobana
  • Obio/Akpor LGA: Emmanuel Dogwo
  • Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA: Vincent Anyanwu
  • Ogu/Bolo LGA: Margaret Ezenwa
  • Okrika LGA: Chizoba Onyebuchi
  • Omuma LGA: Cynthia Amadi
  • Opobo/Nkoro LGA: Solomon Dokubo
  • Oyigbo LGA: Chima Nwafor
  • Port Harcourt LGA: Isaac Udochukwu
  • Tai LGA: Ruth Michael

Governor Fubara expressed confidence in the capabilities of the newly appointed chairmen and emphasized the importance of their roles in maintaining stability and driving development at the grassroots level.

He urged them to prioritize the needs of their communities and work diligently towards improving the quality of life for all residents of Rivers State.

The appointment of the caretaker chairmen is expected to quell the political tensions that have recently plagued the state, ensuring that local governance continues smoothly and efficiently.

As Rivers State navigates this transitional period, the administration remains committed to fostering a stable and prosperous environment for its citizens.

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