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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

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

Kenya Partners Private Sector and Development Partners to Outline Roadmap towards Achieving Energy Efficiency Goals

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Barclays Plaza, Kenya

The Kenyan Government through the Ministry of Energy (MOE) today launched the Kenya National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (KNEECS or The Strategy) placing Kenya firmly on track toward sustainable consumption and production including renewable energy generation.

The Strategy was developed in collaboration with key stakeholders including the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) with support from the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

To date, Kenya has made significant progress in energy efficiency and conservation. In 2006, MOE and KAM signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (CEEC). Its activities include undertaking energy audits of industries, SMEs and public institutions on behalf of MoE, provision of capacity-building in energy efficiency and conservation, public education and awareness activities and administration of the annual Energy Management Awards (EMA). CEEC has achieved over KES 13 billion (USD 152.8 Million) in energy cost saving equivalent to 2014.8 GWh, translating into a deferment of a 230 MW power plant.

The Strategy now seeks to guide the country further towards achieving its established Energy Efficiency (EE) goals within a defined timeframe. These goals are reducing the national energy intensity by 2.8% per year, and enabling the country achieve a 30 per cent greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 relative to Business as Usual (143 MtCO2e) and meet its national targets for Sustainable Development Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) by 2030.

Through the adoption of The Strategy, the country is expected to use less energy to produce goods and services without compromising on quality and quantity. Further, The Strategy will promote the use of technology that requires minimum energy to perform the same function and adoption of changes in behavior that encourage citizens to use a reduced amount of energy in their daily undertakings.

The Strategy sets targets for five key sectors to achieve its objectives, all of which are to be accomplished within a five-year timeline up to 2025: Households, Power Utilities, Transport, Buildings and Industry & Agriculture. Under the Households Sector, energy efficiency in domestic power consumption is expected to increase by 3%. This will be realized by increasing the number of household appliances such as television sets, subjected to Minimum Energy Performable Standards (MEPS) from the current six to ten and increasing the use of improved efficient biomass cook stoves by 50% of all households currently using biomass cook stoves. In the Utilities Sector, the strategy focuses on reducing transmission and distribution system losses from 23 to 15 % .The Strategy recommends the installation of 1 MW of energy storage facilities, whereby a total KSH. 5 Billion in investments will be required for implementation of energy conservation measures. Further, in the Transport Sector, improvement of fuel economy, increasing the share of electric vehicles to reach five per cent and raising the number of passengers using commuter trains from 116,000 to 150,000 per day are proposes. Similarly, the Building Sector has six targets while the Industry & Agriculture Sector has two.

Alongside these sectoral targets, Kenya aspires to strengthen implementation of energy efficiency and conservation measures. All involved agencies will mobilize resources to improve access to finance for energy efficiency projects and accelerate actualization of the Strategy, particularly the Directorate of Renewable Energy and CEEC. Gender-focused and targeted approaches will be implemented for inclusive participation and benefit. Additionally, awareness creation, citizen engagement, training and capacity-building will be implemented. This Strategy, therefore, calls for private and public sector players to mainstream energy efficiency and conservation in education by establishing a long-term mechanism to achieve a high level of government and public awareness on their importance. This will be accomplished by bolstering relationships and engagements among ministries, inter-ministerial forums, county governments, national governments and climate change units countrywide.

Ultimately, the KNEECS will contribute significantly to the essential areas outlined in the Big Four Agenda of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all.

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Government

Nigerians Say No to Fuel, Electricity Hike, Stage Protest

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Nigerians Protest Increase in Fuel and Electricity Prices

Following the decision of the Federal Government to increase fuel price and raise electricity tariff after increasing Value Added Tax (VAT) by 50 percent, Nigerians have taken to the street of Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, to protest the persistent increase in prices despite low earnings and global pandemic that have rendered most Nigerians jobless.

This is coming a day after the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the nation’s inflation rate increased by 13.22 percent in the month of August.

The protesters called the government’s recent hikes despite the negative impacts of COVID19 and surged in the unemployment rate to over 27 percent an anti-people policy and therefore demanded a revised policy.

The protesters, who gathered at the Ojuelegba area of Lagos, said while nations are injecting funds into their economies to ease the effect of COVID-19 on their citizens, Buhari led government is compounding Nigerians suffering amid insecurities.

Experts have blamed the decision to raise prices on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. According to economic experts, the two multilateral financial institutions do not loan nations fund without forcing them to adopt their policy.

They identified some of the policies directed Buhari to implement as the unification of the foreign exchange market, Electricity tariff increase and subsidy removal even though Nigeria’s macro fundamentals are presently weak with foreign revenue falling with weak oil price and plunge in demand for the commodity.

 

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Government

NLC Cautions National Assembly Against Resurrecting Water Bill

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Nigeria Labour Congress

NLC Warns National Assembly Against Bringing Back Water Bill

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the National Assembly leadership against passing the Water Resources Bill into law.

This was disclosed by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, in a statement released in Abuja on Monday, titled, ‘Do not ambush Nigerians.’

It would be recalled that in 2018, there was outrage over the bill when the eighth National Assembly was divided over it.

But on July 23, 2020, the bill resurfaced at the National Assembly as the House of Representatives referred it to a “committee of the whole,” for third reading and passage.

Last week Thursday, Prof Wole Soyinka, a playwright and social critic; and organisations such as the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Middle Belt Forum, also warned the Federal Government and the National Assembly against resurrecting the bill.

Wabba in the statement said that the nation is already facing a lot of challenges, saying it would be costly to cause fresh and unnecessary controversy.

He said, “Information in the public domain has it that the National Assembly leadership is working surreptitiously with vested interests outside the assembly to pass the bill without due legislative process.

“Although the National Assembly is constitutionally vested with law-making, we warn against the National Assembly ambushing Nigerians.

“We equally warn against legislative abuse or betrayal of Nigerians as this is what it will amount to if the bill is passed or caused to be passed without public engagement and scrutiny. Already, the sentiments expressed against this bill are too grave to be brushed off.”

Wabba, therefore advised that the bill should not be pass into law “because of the danger it portends to national unity.”

He said, “In the light of this, we state unambiguously that the National Assembly should listen to the voice of reason by resting this bill.

“As a pan-Nigerian organisation, we would continue to work assiduously for unity, development, justice and accountable leadership.”

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