The House of Representatives, on August 19, suspended all investigations, public hearings, and committee meetings as well as activities of standing and ad hoc committees until September in order to observe its annual recess.
However, Hon. Gbillah said the suspension of committee meetings would negatively impact on the work of Committees, especially those investigating corruption and impropriety within the Executive.
“It will impair the investigations significantly,” he said. “We are still in the realm of allegations and speculations, but when a three-week break has been allowed, compromises can be made; people can be appealed to, offers, overtures can be made to those carrying out those investigations. This is Nigeria.”
However, federal lawmaker, Akin Alabi, who also appeared on Sunrise Daily, rubbished Gbillah’s allegations as “purely politics.”
While Gbillah is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alabi Egbeda/Ona-Ara Federal Constituency under the aegis of the All Progressives Congress.
On Saturday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) criticised the leadership of the House of Representatives for frustrating the ongoing investigation of some government officials by going on a recess.
Powers of the Speaker
Hon. Gbillah started his faulting of the recess on Monday by saying the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has no power to suspend the work of a House Committee.
“There are no provisions in our law that give the Speaker that power to suspend the work of a committee,” he said.
“People have complied with it in the spirit of oneness and progress, but it is not out of place for those who espouse the rule of law to question that decision.
“The Speaker is given the power, in consultation with the principal officers, to remove Chairmen. Obviously, some Chairmen will be cautious in going against the order.”
Hon. Alabi disagreed with his colleague’s remarks.
“That’s false,” he said. “It is the tradition of the house not to have Committee meetings during the recess. And that is what’s obtainable in Congresses all over the world.
“The wisest thing is to pause. We will get back to the House in a couple of weeks, in September. Everybody knew the day of recess for about a month before we went on recess.
However, Hon. Gbillah maintained there was no law giving such powers to the Speaker.
“It is the first time in the history of the National Assembly that I am aware of as a ranking member that, by fiat, the leadership of the House is stopping the statutory activities of Committees,” Gbillah said. “And these activities are backed by a resolution of the House.
“And I personally believe that for any action to rescind the activities of those committees to be tenable, it should come by a resolution of the same House, not by fiat.”
Hon. Alabi noted that there was no need for a special law for the Speaker to be able to suspend a Committee.
“If the Committee Chairman has the power to put a committee on recess, the Speaker, who is the Chairman of all Committees in the House definitely has the power to order all committees on recess.”
House Committees have been at the centre of recent open questioning of public officials, including Federal Ministers.
Last week, in a televised public hearing, Minister of Transporation, Rotimi Amaechi, engaged in heated conversations over details of Nigeria’s financial engagements with the Chinese government.
A House Committee has also been in the middle of investigating financial misappropriation at the Niger-Delta Development Commission.
Hon. Gbillah on Monday suggested that suspending the work of committees could have been motivated by ulterior motives.
“This is a defining moment in the history of this ninth assembly, considering the altercations that the committees, especially of the House of Representatives, have been having with the Executive,” he said.
“This obviously has given credence to the allusions by Nigerians that this is a lame-duck legislature. It now behooves on the leadership to show that it is not a lame-duck leadership.”
Meanwhile, Hon. Alabi insisted that the Speaker has the power to set up committees, dissolve them, or pause their activities.
“There is no need for a special law to say that the Speaker has the power to pause their activities,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be stated in toto.
“This is pure politics. People are trying to destabilise the sanity of the House.
Benue People Are Victims of Ortom’s Maladministration, Mendacity, Not Drunkards – Reps Aspirant, Agbese
…tasks Gov to spend his remaining two years on prayers for forgiveness
Chief Philip Agbese, the leading aspirant for Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo federal constituency in 2023, has rejected the drunkard tag used by Governor Samuel Ortom on the people of Benue State.
Rather, Agbese, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said Benue people are the victims of Ortom’s maladministration, mendacity and misrule in the last six years.
Governor Ortom, speaking at the commissioning of Remnant Christian Network Embassy’s new edifice in Makurdi was quoted to have said “If you go round Makurdi town, our people start drinking beer from 9 am and some from there, they will go to sleep and they come back and insult the governor for not helping them to add value to their lives”.
But in a statement signed by Akor Ikwuoche,
the Director-General, Philip Agbese Campaign Organisation (PACO), the astute UK-trained legal practitioner said while such unguarded utterances aren’t strange from the governor, ” It appears his ‘mouth diarrhoea’ has gotten out of control and may require combined spiritual and medical therapy”.
He recalled how Ortom launched scathing attacks on President Buhari Muhammadu, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Dr George Akume and other elder statements in a bid to attract public sympathy and divert attention.
Agbese said it is, however, unfortunate that some “noble sons and daughters of Benue, who cheered when this intractable ailment came on him are now on the receiving end as they are now known as ‘drunkards’ beyond the state. It speaks volumes about what our governor represents and how he presents us before his contemporaries. As they say, betrayal never comes from your enemies”.
The statement added ” We at the Philip Agbese Campaign Organisation totally reject this drunkard tag on our illustrious brothers and sisters. It is false, treacherous and demeaning. May we remind the governor that Benue has produced some of the country’s most respected brains in different fields of endeavours. How come suddenly they are all drunkards for holding him accountable for his misrule in the last six years?
“Perhaps still having hysteria over the N18.5 billion bailout funds, the governor should return to reality and understand that Benue people are wiser now and tired of his usual blame games. Our people have had enough of the attacks on President Buhari as well as the herdsmen and IDPs propaganda. They are demanding translucency. They are not drunkards. He should provide answers as to why the workers and pensioners are being owed. He should address them on why there’s untold hardship and prove that Benue is not ‘worst than Afghanistan’ as rightly suggested by our principal Chief Philip Agbese.
“Just like Agbese, a UK-trained lawyer, human rights activist and entrepreneur, Enone natives are not drunkards. Never! The good people of Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo federal constituency despite the governor’s abysmal leadership have proven to be hardworking, intellectually sound and goal getters.
“If there’s anyone who should be labelled a drunkard, it is Ortom who may have picked up this habit during his time toiling around different motor parks, first as a tout and then taxi driver. He probably thinks because he is the only Benue indigene that can afford a bottle of Andre Champagne at N3,500 due to the hardship that he brought on the state, everyone else seems to be tipsy on something cheaper. But we wish to advise Ortom to take out time to reflect and stop getting drunk at ceremonies and thinking that his citizens are ‘high’.
“Publicly acknowledging criticism is good news. At least, he is aware that the people, victims of his maladministration and mendacity are fed up. Even his most staunch supporters are exhausted of the excuses. They want more action and less talk”.
Describing Ortom as a monumental failure and disaster, the Philip Agbese Campaign Organisation, therefore, urged the governor to spend his remaining two years on prayers. It said perhaps, through divine intervention, Benue people can forgive him.
Agbese, however, assured his people that the hour of liberation is not far again and all the rhetoric of Ortom’s failed administration will be over.
NYSC DG Bags Award of Excellence From Alma Mater
The NYSC Director General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim has been presented an Award of Excellence by the University of Jos Alumni Association.
This, the University said was in recognition of his tremendous achievements since assuming duty as the 18th Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps over two years ago.
Speaking during the award presentation today, the University of Jos Vice-Chancellor Designate, Prof. Ishaya Tanko extoled the sterling leadership qualities of the Director-General, adding that Unijos has been observing his transformational achievements in the Scheme.
He commended General Ibrahim for the uncommon feat, adding that the award bestowed on him was also in recognition of his undaunting commitment to national development by tapping Corps potentials.
The VC designate while presenting the goodwill message from the Senate, Management, Staff and Students of Unijos added that the institution recognizes the relevance of the NYSC Scheme to overall national development.
Prof Tanko stated further that universities are made stronger by the strength of their alumni adding that, “we will seek every opportunity to strenghten the synergy of all Unijos alumni to strenghten the institution”.
The National President, Unijos Alumni, Pastor Nuhu Sani described the Director-General as a good ambassador of the university, urging him to keep up the good work he is doing.
“Graduates of Unijos are making us proud and we will keep telling the world about them”, he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Unijos Alumni, Abuja Chapter, Mr Joseph Chukwu said Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim’s name came topmost when preparations were on-going for nomination for the award.
He said the Alumni would continue to harness the ingenuinety of NYSC Director-General and other alumni of the University of Jos for the benefit of humanity.
“We will continue to pray for your successful tenure of office and also in future assignments” he said.
In his response, Brigadier General Shuaibu lbrahim congratulated the Vice-Chancellor designate on his appointment.
He stated that he is proud of the University of Jos because the institution has impacted his life and others positively.
Ibrahim lauded the management of the institution for reaching out to its alumni, saying, “l am so proud of the university”.
He assured the management of the University of Jos of his continuous support.
He added that the award would spur him for greater achievements.
He said the Scheme always thinks outside the box, and would leverage on the potentials of Corps Members for national development.
“Last year the NYSC generated over two hundred and eighty million Naira which we paid into the federation account.
This year we also realised five hundred and eleven million Naira which we equally paid into the Federation Account and we are determined that by next year we are going to generate more”, he said.
Ibrahim said the Scheme has revitalised its ventures: garment factories, bread and table water factories for maximum productivity. The ventures also serve as training avenue for Corps Members.
The DG said NYSC had partnered many institutions towards empowering Corps Members for self-reliance.
He listed the Bank of Industry, Central Bank of Nigera, Heritage Bank, Access Bank among others as institutions that offer start up capitals for Corps Members to finance their business proposals.
He also said efforts are in top gear with strong advocacy for the establishment of NYSC Trust Fund, which if actualised will enable Corps Members to have access to start-up captitals to finance their business ideas as they exit service.
The Director-General said NYSC film, NYSC National Cultural Troupe are some of the innovations introduced into the NYSC Scheme for the enhancement of Corps potentials for greater output.
Kogi vs EFCC: Someone, Somewhere is Afraid of the Rising Profile of Gov. Yahaya Bello – Got Your Back Nigeria
A Political Support group known as ‘Got Your Back Nigeria’ has lend it’s voice to Condemn what it tagged as “recent attack on the person of Yahaya Bello , governor of kogi State.
In a press release titled “Who is Afraid of Yahaya Bello” the group said it observed with much dismay, the recent drama or altercations between Governor Yahaya Bello (GYB), the young, ever-smiling, gap-toothed, cerebral, focused and courageous leader of Kogi State and the anti-graft agency, EFCC over the alleged diversion and secretly stashed N19.33 billion bailout funds for workers salaries released to the state years back.
Recall that the EFCC claimed the N19.33 billion was domiciled in a fixed deposit account with Sterling Bank PLC, bearing the imprimatur of “Kogi State Bailout Account.” However, the Kogi State Government has insisted, it has no such accounts domiciled with the Bank at the center of the controversy. The narrations make the saga more interesting. But it has placed a heavy burden of clearing the incidental conjectures generated by a tale crafted and circulated by the anti-graft agency.
More intriguing, the EFCC suddenly made a detour by withdrawing the suit filed in court seeking to establish the source and ownership of the about N20 billion bailout funds domiciled in Sterling Bank PLC. I find it completely, incongruent, the EFCC’s multiple explanations of freezing, unfreezing, discontinuation with the case and the return of the said amount to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Group said it is suspicious that the EFCC , through its spokesperson, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren suddenly expressed the commission’s public disinterest in exposing the source and ownership of the funds, but felt accomplished that it blocked the exit of the funds. Except the EFCC has invented new Laws or operating now on the basis of personal discretion, why is it necessary to back out from such a sensitive investigation of a presumed “executive fraud” after the media blitzkrieg on the matter?
Exposure of financial crimes and its sources assist in deterring others. But in this instance, the EFCC wittingly denied Nigeria this opportunity by arm-twisting itself and pleading that the controversies be laid to rest with the CBN’s custody of the money, persuading itself feebly that it “is expedient for the instant suit to be discontinued and the account unfrozen”.
The group suspect grandeur hatchet job of some covert political antagonists’ at play against GYB to tarnish his public image.
According to the group It appears politicians are desperate to portray GYB as a corrupt politician, Governor and leader before the Nigerian public since he is seeking the 2023 Presidency of Nigeria.
“Can any one of us reasonably imagine that a State Governor could disown such humongous amounts in this period of severe economic crunch? It’s incredible! Ask Rivers State Gov. Nyemson Wike, who instantly claimed ownership of huge sums of monies, in different currencies, the EFCC discovered hidden in a building in Lagos state. He didn’t take a breath before claiming the discovered monies belonged to the people of Rivers state”.
“Is GYB a different personality? Is he being blackmailed or given a bad name in order to smear his reputation and halt his rising political profile in the race for Aso Rock in 2023? Since Nigerian youths officially adopted GYB as the best choice for President come 2023, praying he improves on the profound efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Kogi Governor’s shadows are shuddering many political camps; penetrating rare places; receiving monstrous endorsements from credible stakeholders, Youth Groups and the media across the country. It has caused some extreme anxiety in some persons, who perhaps have elected to trade falsehood and tommyrot against the clear front runner in the race to Aso Rock come 2023”.
“Precisely, GYB’s political outings are causing huge nightmares to many opponents including traditional politicians and perpetual powermongers in Nigeria. Could it be the reason for the recent attempt to demean his person and administration on the plank of the EFCC?”
“Methinks, EFCC’s latter conflicting narratives of same incident and its sudden lack of enthusiasm gives more credence to these obvious conspiracy theories against GYB, pointing to his 2023 Presidential ambition as the main target. But they will fail, because the lies won’t stick”.
“As a public affairs analyst, I am compelled and indeed I find it expedient to add my voice to the discourse that someone, somewhere is afraid of the rising profile of Gov. Yahaya Bello. I can vouch that the EFCC’s baseless hounding of GYB is an apt expression of the morbid fear in some powerful political circles. Certainly, some persons are not comfortable with the 2023 Presidential aspiration of Gov. Yahaya Bello who is being generously called upon to succeed President Mohammadu Buhari”.
“Why am I this assertive of the fear of GYB as the reason for the EFCC gibberish? Such huge sums of money deposited with a Commercial Bank these days would yield amazing interest in millions or even billions of naira. How much did the fix deposit yield on the account discovered by the EFCC, in addition to the original sum of 20b or is N19.33 billion?”
“It’s unrealistic that only the deposited money was recovered. Besides, the operationalization of fixed deposit accounts is for a fixed period. EFCC’s backout against the case would have also explained to Nigerians lucid details such as the terminal date of the deposit account where the N19.33b or is it 20b was found. But it declined. Who is deceiving, who?’
“So, the unassailable truth by EFCC’s poor outing is merely to cushion the path for GYB’s detractors who are apparently against his giant strides in the development of Kogi State, in order to frustrate the intervention of investors, development partners and sow a seed of discord between the Governor and the good people of Kogi state, as evidently, “The Kogi State government had disbursed its bailout loans for the purpose of which it was granted as of October 2019.”
“They can baselessly seek and attempt to drag the personality and reputation of GYB to the mud, but as always they will fail because their lies won’t stick. Glaringly what is indisputable is his manifest beneficial leadership to the people of Kogi. He has worked hard to make Kogi State one of the most peaceful, and devoid of all manner of security threats plaguing other States. And no one can deny that, except the devious and the satanic”.
“Before his divine rescue mission in the state, Kogi was a haven for dastered armed robberies, kidnappings and an extension camp for Boko Haram terrorists who found in the alluring mountains, forests and caves of the confluence State, spots convenient for habitation. Kogi state served as the transit camp for the Haramists and Lokoja the State Capital provided the shield in their quest to make incursions into Southern Nigeria. Today, GYB has turned things around, as Kogi State has become the safest State in the entire North”.
“For years, the forests of Kogi State were Boko Haram’s chambers for manufacturing Improved Explosive Devices (IEDs) on a large scale, which were used to wreck havoc across the country. Without an ounce of equivocation GYB has positively changed the narrative, as no traces of the heinous and violent crimes he inherited are found anywhere in the State. Need I say that not only is Kogi State with 9 borders the safest State in the North, Kogi State is the second safest State in the entire Country”.
“I know like most Nigerians, the conducive security atmosphere in Kogi state has promoted agriculture in the state, further amplified by GYB’s active and exceptional support to farmers. He has inspired and supported young Kogites into massive farming through unique incentives and training, fertilizer supplies, supply of seedlings, and mechanization cum support tools”.
It is the success story of Kogi State under GYB in virtually all sectors that confounds his political foes and critics. I am therefore not astounded that opponents who initially, (ignorantly though), touted GYB as a failed state leader, are wounded internally and have their outer pride gravely bruised that the Governor has excelled in leadership at the state level and is ready and set for the Presidency come 2023. Such is the only sense I can glean from the political interests prodding the EFCC to baselessly bark at GYB”.
“But such scare tricks are not new to us. Alhaji Adoza Yahaya Bello has done his best for Kogi State. And based on popular demand, those who transverse the length and breadth of Kogi State and seen the GYB magic have called on him to sustain the efforts of the Buhari Presidency by running for the top job of President come 2023. So, we expect dissenting voices and deadly plots in the camps of those who oppose the GYB phenomenon, albeit we least expected that demonic falsehood and perfidy will be their trade”.
“In any case, Nigerian youths who are actively backing GYB for the 2023 Presidency have concluded that the scare tricks employed by detractors are too puerile to derail the popular agenda of the masses. Those throwing the proverbial banana peels on his path must be joking and living in self -denial or on some delusional fit, because we are committed to exposing their deceit and chicanery”.
“Straightforwardly, let me end this analysis by pointing out two scenarios’ likely playing out in this macabre dance. It’s either someone is out to destroy the good reputation of the EFCC by that shameful outing on GYB. Or, some persons are desperate to pale into political hiatus by maligning the candidate endorsed by the greatest number of the Nigerian Youth for the Presidency in 2023. Either way GYB Godwilling will remain unscathed”.
“My honest advice to the antigraft agency is that it must avoid the temptation of chasing shadows in Kogi simply because some persons want to stop Gov. Yahaya Bello, as it won’t work. And such should also not be contemplated in other States or on any other leader, as it is capable of eroding public confidence and credibility in the operations of the EFCC. God Bless Nigeria”.
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