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Edo State does not deserve political violence

It was quite disheartening to hear the news last Tuesday that legislators in the Edo State House of Assembly resorted to fighting as a means of conflict resolution as their colleagues in Nasarawa State did last month. The issue at stake in the Edo legislature was the removal of the speaker and his deputy. According to reports, 16 out of 24 members of the House wanted the change, but curiously such a majority could not peacefully have its way. Instead, hoodlums who were on standby released gunshots as an institutional statement.

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House of Representatives

What exactly is the meaning of constituency project?

One of the puzzles yet unraveled in the Nigerian game of politics is why our annual budget has been a source of quarrel between the legislature and the executive since the nation’s return to democracy in 1999. With the 17-year old quarrel operating as a yearly matter without exception, it seems obvious that how to grab money is a prime objective of the squabble. Following the inability of the Federal Executive Council last Wednesday to say when the 2016 budget would be signed into law, hopes of many citizens looking forward to the budget have been dashed. The current phase of the usual cat and rate game does not show that even an early submission of the budget in the future would resolve the matter. It appears obvious that irrespective of when it is submitted, the budget will always be delayed for as long as it takes those hustling for personal gains to achieve their targets. What keeps the hustling game alive is the claim by the legislature that it has the power of appropriation. Citing relevant provisions of the constitution, legislators insist that they can alter, reject or even rewrite the budget. Of course, such a claim of the legislature that every other contribution to the budget depends on its own whims and caprices is incorrect because that would injure the spirit of checks and balances.

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El-Rufai at the event.

How wrong is Governor El Rufai?

For some time now, there has been ample opposition to the policy initiatives of the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El Rufai. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is perhaps the governor’s fiercest critic with respect to a proposed law to regulate religious activities in the state. The bill is aimed at banning the usage of loudspeaker for religious purposes “other than inside a Mosque or Church and the surrounding areas outside the stipulated prayer times.” Governor el-Rufai wants to legally stop the playing or circulating of “all cassettes, CDs, flash drives or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers other than inside one’s house, porch, Church, Mosques and other designated places of worship.” The bill also seeks to ban sales or playing of any cassette containing “religious recordings in which abusive language is used against any person or religious organisation or religious leaders (past or present). Any person found guilty of preaching without a valid licence and other offences under the proposed law “shall be liable to two years in prison or a fine of N200, 000.”

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Let’s remove fighters from our legislature

The latest incident of fighting in a House of Assembly took place last Monday when Nasarawa State legislators engaged themselves in a free for all fight inside what is often called their ‘Hallowed’ Chambers. According to media reports, the “lawmakers punched each other while glasses were shattered, tables and chairs were also upturned in the violence that engulfed the House for hours. Some legislators sustained injuries during the violence while some had their clothes torn.”

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Oyegun and Buhari

How selective is Buhari’s anti-corruption war?

During the 2015 electioneering period, it was easy to see how corruption was established as Nigeria’s most intractable problem. Hence, the then opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) vowed to deal with it head-long, if voted into office. Many people believed that the party could in reality fulfil its promise because of the antecedents of its flag bearer, General Muhammadu Buhari. In fact, many of those who opposed Buhari were ignored because they were seen by the public as corrupt officials who feared the likelihood of the exposure of their corrupt practices. Having won the election against that backdrop, one would expect that Buhari’s anti-corruption war would be fierce and that it would in turn be appreciated by all. Today, the situation is inexplicably shifting as those being interrogated have succeeded in convincing some people that the war is selective. Almost on a daily basis now, the criticism is getting louder as corruption is fighting back with groups being mobilized to condemn the policy

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A new TV experience for this Soweto resident!

NTA’s problem is not structure but govt control

Nigerian veteran broadcasters must have been amused by reports in the media last week that Government was making efforts to restructure the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and other publicly-funded media establishments to enhance their performance. According to the reports, the nation’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed made a request to the Doha based Al Jazeera Television to collaborate with his ministry in the area of capacity building for journalists in public-owned media organizations, especially the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). It is not a new attempt. During the Obasanjo administration the BBC was similarly mobilized. But are ‘Structure’ and ‘Training’ the problems of the NTA?

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Enough of tough talk before elections

Anyone who had opportunity to follow media reports on the preparations for rerun elections in Rivers State scheduled for yesterday would agree that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the police were set for the event. On its part, the electoral body said every measure and precaution had been taken to ensure free and fair elections adding that in addition to its usual logistics, 3 national commissioners and 6 resident electoral commissioners were deployed for election duty on the D-Day.

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File: Ekiti-lawmakers

Is Ekiti House of Assembly a hallowed chamber?

The fight against corruption is obviously not yielding the desired result not because it is selective as some politicians often allege; rather it is complicated by a number of challenges. One of them is that it is a one-man fight. President Buhari is no doubt alone in the battle. Impunity which oils corruption is still quite discernible here and there. Corruption is itself aggressively fighting back and with ease, it is exploiting the technicalities entrenched in our judicial system.

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Dogara and Saraki

Bravo to Saraki and Dogara, but….

The 7th National Assembly which ended in 2015 was in several respects ignoble. It did not only set a record of passing 46 bills in 10 minutes, it did many other irritating things such as some of its committees being compromised while investigating certain alleged corrupt practices in some public bodies. Although it is probably too early to evaluate the 8th National Assembly, one can safely hope, from its performance so far, that it is not likely to decline to the level of its immediate predecessor.

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Edo 2016: What is wrong with Ize-Iyamu or Obaseki?

This year’s governorship election in Edo State to fill the vacancy that would result from the end of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s tenure will no doubt be keenly contested. For the first time in recent years, many well tested citizens have already shown interest in the position. In particular, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the main opposition party- the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are set to give each other a hot chase as both parties are strong in the state. But before the political scene begins to boil, no one should forget that the state has so much to thank God for.

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Do our legislators have alcohol allowance?

The condemnable attempt a few days ago by just 5 Kogi State legislators to remove their Speaker, Momoh Jimoh Lawal, ought not to be referred to as news. This is not to suggest that negative issues don’t make news because everyone knows that bad news is the most popular news. But considering that the newer and fresher an event is, the easier it is for it to make news, hooliganism which has since become a hobby of our legislators and which is no longer new, ought not to make news in the ordinary sense; rather it should make condemnable news. In other words, it shouldn’t even be described as news but as a story which the teller presents in a negative sense. Unfortunately, we the narrators hardly remember to sensitize the people that it is the story of shameless actors.

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Supreme Court of Nigeria

The Supreme Court and the ordinary man

Not many people know my uncle, Sir Ajayi Edobor that I often refer to in this column because of his impact on me as a young man. It was from him I learnt the technique of the communication of the deaf which I later found to be popular in government which behaves as if it does not hear what the people say. He has in earnest always served as my ever-ready barometer for measuring how the ordinary man sees every government policy.

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Congrats Governors Wike and Ishaku, but….

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike must have been greatly relieved when the Supreme Court last Wednesday confirmed him as the rightful winner of the 2015 governorship election in his state. The Apex Court upheld the elections of Wike with a unanimous decision by a seven-man panel whose lead judgment was read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun. Not-withstanding that the details of the judgment will not be available until February 12, 2016, it is only fair at this point for Wike’s critics including this column to congratulate him for emerging victorious in the laborious venture called election in Nigeria.

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