As more stakeholders have continued to join the clamour for the restructuring of the country, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has advised the Federal Government not to dismiss these calls, but listen to advices from wise Nigerians for the restructuring of the country.
The Governor who gave the advice in a statement issued Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, CPS, Terver Akase, cautioned against labelling patriotic views expressed by the people as ‘unpatriotic outbursts’.
Governor Ortom’s advice came on the heels of the Presidency’s recent reaction to the call by the General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, who urged the president to commence the process of restructuring and save Nigeria from it socio-economic problems .
It would also be recalled that hAirman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, as well as the Northen Elders Forum have joined in the clamour of Nigeria’s restructuring as the only solution to the nations catalogue of woes
According to the Governor Ortom, “Nigeria is practicing democracy which guarantees the freedom of speech to all citizens and not military regime which suppresses the right of the people to voice their opinions about challenges facing their country.
“It is therefore incumbent on the Federal Government to listen to the views of the people and evolve acceptable ways of addressing the problems confronting the country instead of engaging in a combative style, anyone who dares to suggest alternative approaches to tackling the challenges.”
The Governor, who reaffirmed his believe in a united Nigeria, insisted that there was nothing new or strange about Pastor Adeboye’s call which according to him should be considered as patriotic and selfless.
“Great nations of the world got to their enviable status by harnessing and utilizing ideas of their citizens, not by discouraging those who made bold submissions on the development of their countries,” he said.
Reps in rowdy session over defections, threat to declare absentee PDP members’ seat vacant
It was a mild drama at Wednesday’s sitting at the House of Representatives, as the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila disclosed to the House that some members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have not sat for day at the plenary, since the inauguration of the 9th Assembly
The Speakers revelation came on the heels of demand by PDP members of the House for the declaration of the seats of two members who degfected from PDP tp APC on Wednesday
The members, Rep. Ephraim Nwuzi (Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency of Rivers) and Rep. David Abel (Gashaka/Kurmi/Sardauna Federal Constituency of Taraba) has in their letters, said that they had consulted with their constituents and other stakeholders before their decisions to defect were reached.
They also cited the charisma of the speaker and his leadership style which, they said, had won their admirations as part of their reasons for their defection.
But in their insistence that the two members must lose their seats, Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Toby Okechukwu (PDP-Enugu), argued that Nigeria is founded on laws and laid down due processes, arguing that it was wrong for the defecting members to only cite the charisma of the speaker as the reason for their defection instead of the Constitution.
Okechukwu noted that the Constitution states clearly that a member can only defect when the party in which he was elected is divided or is in crisis.
Also, the Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) described the defection of the members as “assumed defection” as “there is no division in the PDP.’’
Elumelu, who read relevant sections of the Constitution, demanded that the speaker declared the seats of the members vacant.
In his response, Gbajabiamila recalled that as one time Minority leader in the house, he witnessed the defection so many of his members to the PDP, which was then the ruling party. He said that he cited all the relevant laws and called on the house to declare such seats vacant until he lost his voice.
Gbajabiamila therefore revealed at that point that there were some members of the PDP who had not attended any sitting since the commencement of the 9th Assembly, noting that section 68 of Constitution states that the seats of such members should be declared vacant.
Elumelu responded that the Clerk of the house should be directed to provide the register to confirm the position of the speaker on the absent PDP lawmakers.