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Senate Committee Recommends the Creation of Okura State, 19 Others

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The agitation for the creation of more states in the country is about to enter a new phase.

This follows the recommendation by the Senate Committee on Constitution Review that referendum be conducted for 20 new states by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Nation gathered yesterday that the committee’s decision was reached after considering various factors including the ability of civilian administration to create states.

It recalled that the defunct Mid-Western Region was created in 1963 in the First Republic.

To check tax evasion, the Senate panel also approved the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to allow for the creation of Federal Revenue Court.

There will be about five revenue courts to deal with all tax issues nationwide, especially cases involving multinational firms.

A highly placed source said the Senate panel will soon meet with the House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Review for joint consultations on some of the approved amendments.

Creation of new states tops the list of amendments to the 1999 Constitution.

Although less than five of the current 36 states are economically viable, it was gathered that the Senate Committee was determined to respect what it termed “the genuine desire of Nigerians.”

The list of requests for new states is quite long but sources said referendum may be conducted for no fewer than 20 states.

Some of the requests are ITAI State (fromAkwa Ibom State); State status for the FCT; Katagum State from Bauchi State; Okura State from Kogi East; Adada State from Enugu State; Gurara State from Kaduna South; and Ijebu State from Ogun State

Others are Ibadan State from Oyo State; Tiga State from Kano State; Ghari State from Kano State; Amana State from Adamawa; Gongola State from Adamawa; Mambilla State from Taraba State; Savannah State from Borno State; and Okun state from Kogi State.

Those on the list include Etiti State from the South East Zone; Orashi State from Imo and Anambra states; Njaba from the present Imo State or the excision of Aba State from Abia State; Anioma State from Delta State; Torogbene and Oil River States, from Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states; and Bayajida State from parts of Katsina, Jigawa and Zamfara states.

The source said:”The Senate Committee on Constitution Review has seen the desirability of creating new states which may even solve the nation’s present security challenges.

“What the Senate Committee has recommended is to amend the constitution to empower INEC to conduct the referendum on state creation.

” When INEC gets the constitutional mandate, we can then invoke Section in Part 1 of Chapter 1 of the 1999 Constitution.

Read Also: Electronic transmission: Senate in the eye of the storm

“We are talking of referendum for less than or about 20 new states.”

Responding to a question, the source added:

“The procedures for creating new states may be cumbersome but realizable.

“At the committee level, it was obvious that a civilian administration is better placed to create new states than any other form of government. In fact, the defunct Mid-Western Region was created in 1963 during the First Republic.

” In this Fifth Amendment to the 1999 Constitution, the National Assembly can create new states if the conditions are met.”

Section in Part 1 of Chapter 1 of the 1999 Constitution states the conditions as follows:

“An Act of the National Assembly for the purpose of creating a new state shall only be passed if –

(a) a request, supported by at least two-thirds majority of members ( representing the area demanding the creation of the new state) in each if the following –

(i) the Senate and the House of Representatives

(ii) the House of Assembly in respect of the area, and

(iii) the local government councils in respect of the area, is received by the National Assembly.

“A proposal for the creation of the state is thereafter approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of the area where the demand for creation of the state originated.

” The result if the referendum is then approved by a simple majority of all the states of the Federation supported by a simple majority of members of the Houses of Assembly, and

” The proposal is approved by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of members of each House of the National Assembly.”

It was also gathered that the Senate Committee on Constitution Review recommended the establishment of Federal Revenue Court, including five branches to adjudicate on tax-related issues.

Another source said:” The establishment of the court will accelerate cases involving tax defaulters, under-declaration of returns, and other abuses by local and multinational companies.

” The constitution will be amended to accommodate this specialized court.”

Asked when the Senate and the House of Representatives Committees will meet, the source added: “Before the end of the month.”

The last state creation in Nigeria took place on October 1,1996 when the late military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, announced the emergence of Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Gombe, Nasarawa and Zamfara.

Source: The Nation

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Issue Based Campaign: I Agree with Tinubu – Obi

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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, has thrown his weight behind the call by Sen. Ahmed Bola Tinubu for the campaign, whenever it starts, to be based on issues and not personality. Obi was reacting to the call by Tinubu, through his campaign organization, for the candidates and their supporters to base their electioneering on issues that would, in their words, “advance the growth, progress and stability of Nigeria”.

A statement signed by Obi’s Media Adviser, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, said the statement by APC advising candidates to “desist from spreading lies, malice and denigrating other candidates,” exactly mirrored what Obi had propagated over the years.

He said if supporters were mindful of this, some articles published in some newspapers against Obi would not have been published, including those with offensive titles.

On the alleged fake Letter from the President of Ghana and the alleged request of 50 Billion Naira monthly payment, Obienyem said that while Obi was not bothered about their authenticity, it was wickedness to link them to his supporters, insisting that any publication from Obi’s group was always properly signed and the place it was coming from very clearly spelt out.

Obienyem also described as the height of mischief, the attempt to link his campaign to IPOB. In his words: “We know that things are not well in Nigeria. We know of the agitations in different parts of the country, our principal has always said what he would do with such organizations to stop their agitation and bring then back to Nigeria as one happy family. Rather than others say what they will do, they are here creating more problems by trying vainly and wickedly to link their follow contestants to some of those organisations.”

He expressed happiness that Nigerians knew the truth and that such gimmicks used to deceive them would no longer work.

Concluding, Obienyem said that right from Obi’s position as the Governor, he was not known for the habit of attacking people or building lies against others. Obienyem said Obi’s disposition was contrary to those of some of his opponents, whom, he said, actually originated most of those fake news, published them under false names and turned round to ascribe them to Obi or his supporters.

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Northern Christians Reject APC’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket

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** Say it is an agenda to Economically, Politically Marginalise Northern Christians

As Lawal, Dogara , others rally Northern Christians to reject Tinubu/Shettima joint Muslim-Muslim ticket

AHEAD of 2023 general and Presidential elections, Northern Christians have rejected in totality the Muslim/ Ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC that has produced Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the Presidential candidate and Senator Kashim Shettima as the running mate, describing the action as an agenda to economically and olitically marginalise Northern Christians.

The decision which was taken Friday at Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja during the APC Northern Christians Leader Summit in conjunction with Christians from the north is a serious indication that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate Sen Shettima Kashim would face the herculean task convincing christains of northern extraction to vote for them in the 2023 poll.

The Christian leaders have vowed that no Christian would vote for the present arrangement of the APC

Speaking as the Chairman of the event which has Christians drawn from the Nineteen Northern States, former Secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Engr Babachir Lawal who noted that the Muslim-Muslim ticket was an extension of the exclusion of christains from the scheme of things in the country, however stressed that the measure would disrupt the peace and social development of the country, he argued that the Muslim-Muslim ticket remains part of the subterranean plot to Islamise the country.

Babachir who gave a detailed reference of the marginalisation of christains in the APC NWC, Federal executive council (FEC), state and federal owned institutions of learnings in the country, charged christains in not only the north but the entire country not to be deceived the APC leadership on the Muslim-Muslim ticket since matters of religion cannot be divulge from the politics of the country.

He said, “We are not the ones that started this fight. APC started it. They should be ready to carry this cross. We are open to discussion with whoever discuss with chrustain community in good faith.”

On his part as the Guest Speaker, former Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara  who spoke in the same vein,  described as “hogwash” the argument that the choice of Shettima was based on consideration of competence rather than his religious leanings.

According to Dogara,  notwithstanding his love for Tinubu, the argument that christians votes would not count as that of the Muslims lacks any logical basis as Nigerians irrespective of their religious leanings had ensured the emergence of former president Goodlick Jonathan and Olusegun Obasanjo in the past.

(Vanguard)

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I Didn’t Endorse Tinubu – Pastor Bakare

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The General Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has refuted claims that he endorsed the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate for 2023 elections, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Bakare who made the rebuttal in a statement debunking insinuations that he was working against the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on the Muslim-Muslim ticket by Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima.

In a recent post on Bakare’s Facebook handle, he described the aforesaid allegations as absolute lies.

“My attention has been drawn to the viral but concocted and ridiculous statements credited to me, by some unscrupulous writers and bloggers. Amongst other things, I was quoted to have said that the agitations by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), were ploys by the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to force a weak candidate on APC.

“In addition to this, I was alleged to have said that CAN wanted to lure APC into presenting a weak candidate. The spurious writers also alleged that I stressed that Christians are righteous people who behave like Christ, and that CAN are politicians who behave like PDP.

“As if the poorly strewn lies were not enough, I was quoted as saying that Tinubu is my candidate. Isn’t this the same Tinubu that I announced to all and sundry at the APC Presidential Convention that I was not stepping down for? He has suddenly become my candidate!

“I wish to state unequivocally that the statements are absolute lies. There was nowhere I granted anyone any interview, or preached on any platform, where I said the ludicrous statements. I challenge anyone who is in possession of the video or audio file of the statements to please put it in the public space.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I am a nation builder who will not in any way create real or imaginary division among the people of our great country, through the medium of political parties or religion.

“I therefore use this medium to ask everyone to disregard the alleged statements. The statements are not mine, and do not in any way represent my position. This is part of the lying propaganda of the mischievous ones seeking approval by deceit and at all costs. If the peddlers of this deliberate falsehood don’t desist from their highly condemnable acts, they will definitely have their day in court. Enough is enough“

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