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The passage of the $5.513 billion loan request by Muhammadu will save 20 million jobs, President of the Senate Ahmed Lawan said at the weekend.

Dr. Lawan explained that the national Assembly did not give frivolous approval.

He said was able to get concessionary, multilateral or bilateral loans with very favourable conditions of one per cent, 10 years or 20 year moratorium.

He also claimed that over 400 bills are being processed in the national assembly to add value to Nigerians’ lives.

He said there has been less friction between the Legislature and the Executive because a Special Committee is working behind-the-scene to avert feuds as it was between the two arms during the Eighth Assembly.

Lawan said: “We are not doing that in a frivolous way. We are very mindful, we are very patriotic on the way and manner we grant or endorse these requests and we are also very meticulous. Our Committees on Foreign and Domestic Loans have gone through all the papers to ensure that there is justification for those loans. And in fact, in the Senate, we didn’t pass all the loan requests.

“We passed only the request for $5.513b. There was $1.5b request for states. We could not see the justification and we said no. So, it was not everything that was requested that was was granted by the Senate.

“I want to assure Nigerians that we would always be guided by the need for our country to be prudent; by the need for our government to be prudent and efficient in the deployment of resources. And of course in the process, we should also explore other means of funding our projects like the partnership with the private sector. All we need to do is to create the environment for the private sector to participate.”

Lawan explained that the loans were necessary to complete important infrastructural projects.

He said: “Well, we have a shortfall of almost $14.2b funding gap for 2020 Budget. And with COVID-19, came so many negative things that have visited adverse outcomes on our people. We didn’t make hay while the sun shone when we had our crude selling for over $140 per barrel in the past.

“We didn’t diversify the , we didn’t invest in the real sectors of the and most of the resources were frittered.

“Now, we have come to a point where we have to address the infrastructure gap that we have but the resources are so low. Crude at one point was selling for $10 and $11 per barrel, especially when this COVID-19 thing started around March.

“We have very significant projects that we need to put in place like the Second Niger Bridge, the Mambilla Hydro-Power Project; the East-West Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lagos- Kano Rail Line; Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Rail Line and so many other projects that are as well important. But we don’t have the money.

“Tell me, if you don’t have the resources and you still needed these projects because with some of them you can pay back what you owe once they are operational. Would you because you don’t want to obtain the loans, you will say let me abandon these projects. Or, you will say I will take the loans but I will ensure that all the loans I take and every other resource I put on these projects are properly, efficiently and prudently applied and deployed.”

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He said if the loans were not approved, the nation’s economy may slip into recession.

He added: “For us in the National Assembly, we are conscious of the fact that this economy, as affected by COVID-19, if it persists, you could lose over 20million jobs in this country.

“The economy could go into serious recession probably up to -4% or even -5 % of the GDP. So, you need to have the resources to invest so that the economy does not go into recession and also to ensure that people don’t lose their jobs.

“Therefore, when the Federal Government was able to get concessionary, multilateral or bilateral loans with very favourable conditions of maybe 1%, 10 years or 20 year moratorium, what can you do? You cannot run away from your challenges.

He explained the rationale behind the creation of Special Committee to reduce the friction between the Legislature and the Executive.

But he also clarified that the National Assembly will never compromise its mandate.

He said: “I am pleased to say that we have done so much. The Senate started and remains united. We are bi-partisan and this is obvious and we have been working with other arms of government very closely in such a manner that our productivity level in the Senate is higher than most previous sessions. And that is to say that it is because we have more time to be focused and concentrate on delivering legislative interventions as may be required from time to time.

“We need not spend any time on unnecessary Executive-Legislature conflict and bickering. Certainly not obviously before the public. We have given this kind of environment; we have done significantly very well compared to most of the previous sessions.

“Here, I am not talking about the number of bills passed because we were doing everything fine until COVID-19 pandemic from February to June. Unfortunately with the COVID-18 pandemic effects, it is clear that everybody is working far below his capacity whether as an individual or as an institution. This is because of the situation that requires lockdown, easing of lockdown and the National Assembly and the Senate cannot be different.

“Certainly, we sit at the moment once in a legislative week or sometimes at best two days in a legislative week. That is not the way it should be but because of the current situation, there is hardly anything anybody could do until the situation of COVID-19 becomes easy and better for us to go full blast and full operation.

“But, I am happy to say that, at least, given all these difficult situations, the Senate has done fairly well. We have over 400 bills in different stages of legislative processing. And of course, we have done so many confirmations compared to any other Senate in one year. We have done about 27 or 28 confirmation requests from the Executive arm of government. And we consider that very significant because this is the way to make government efficient when you have the governing boards, the governing councils and the management in place as against an individual, probably a Minister, or someone who could take advantage of no governing board or management to run government organisations.

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“So, we are very happy with what we have done so far. Let me also say this. In order to sustain the relationship that enhances our productivity, we have a Special Committee. This Special Committee is between the Executive and Legislative arms of government that works behind-the-scene. It is not an official body, you don’t see it, you don’t hear it but it is very effective and efficient.

“The members are the Senate Leader, the House Leader, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (House); the representative of the of the Attorney-General of the Federation and relevant committee chairmen when there is a bill that has to do with an area a committee oversights.

“And this is a conscious decision between the Legislature and the Executive that whenever there is going to be a bill that is significant and could cause misunderstanding, the Executive should bring that bill, we will sit down to let them explain to that committee and let them on it. Where the legislators feel this is too obvious we cannot accept this and this is the way we think it should be, we will argue and then we will have the bill that will eventually come to the National Assembly.

He said the creation of the Special Committee does not erode the Principle of Separation of Powers between the Legislature and the Executive.

He added: “The Principle of Separation of Powers is what establishes and sustains government. I believe in it strongly. I also believe that separation of powers should also be considered along checks and balances.

Regarding the proposed e-voting by the Independent National Electoral Commission (), Lawan said the National Assembly was expecting details from the electoral body.

He said: “This is something we need to sit down with INEC, because INEC is the operator of the electoral environment, and anything it thinks is necessary for us to operate during this time of COVID-19 challenge, we should look into it but before then, we believe that the electoral environment should be as dynamic as it is, should receive our attention that will make it possible for elections to hold and outcomes to achieve the integrity that we will have the confidence of voters. I don’t want to comment too much on what INEC said because they need to explain to us what they mean by e-voting, the scope, what type of technologies they are going to deploy, how they are going to do it. I don’t want to comment further on that so that I don’t cause unnecessary debate about it.

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“We want to do constitutional amendment as well as amendment of the electoral act to further make the process better and we want to see a situation where all pre-election matters are determined before the elections, that’s to say that if there are issues regarding the primaries by political parties and their candidates, then such legal matters should be settled, before anybody is presented for election so that you don’t go with pre-election problems or matters into the general election.

“We want to ensure that in our constitutional amendment, local government autonomy is further entrenched because we’ve lost it, we don’t talk about local governments anymore like they don’t exist. This is a tier of government that can do a lot to help us to deal with small and local issues. We believe that we should work to ensure that local government autonomy is protected by the constitution. We have a lot of interest in ensuring that we carry out constitutional amendment as well as working on the electoral act.”

On the controversy trailing the proposed renovation of the National Assembly complex, he said the estimated cost has been reduced from N37b to N9.2b.

He added: As for National Assembly renovation, how I wish I am not a member of the National Assembly so that when I talk about it, people will not read meaning into it. This guest house leaks but this is personal to me, nobody is talking about it. But that National Assembly represents Nigeria, it tells our story; it is Nigeria personified. Go round the National Assembly, even from outside start from the Dome, you will be ashamed of Nigeria.

“The National Assembly renovation was misunderstood. Sometimes, you allow criticisms so that you give people the feeling that this is a democracy. People criticized it, we took it calmly and we assumed that we need to educate Nigerians about it.

“First of all, it is not a National Assembly building; it is the Federal Capital Development Authority’s building. National Assembly is to be accommodated by the Federal Government of Nigeria. If tomorrow, the location or our accommodation is changed to the International Conference Centre, that is where we are going to stay.”

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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Nigeria Records 443 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Now 45,687

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The Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 443 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, as confirmed cases are now 45,687.

The agency made this known via its verified Twitter handle on Friday.

“On the 7th of August 2020, 443 new confirmed cases and 6 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

“Till date, 45687 cases have been confirmed, 32637 cases have been discharged and 936 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The 443 new cases are reported from 19 states- Plateau (103), (70), FCT (60), Ondo (35), Edo (27), Rivers (27), Kaduna (20), Osun (19), Borno (18), Oyo (18), Kwara (11), Adamawa (9), Nasarawa (7), Gombe (6), Bayelsa (4), Imo (4), Bauchi (2), Ogun (2) and Kano (1),” the NCDC said.

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See the breakdown of cases by state below;

Confirmed Cases by State

States Affected No. of Cases (Lab Confirmed) No. of Cases (on admission) No. Discharged No. of Deaths
Lagos 15,697 2,386 13,119 192
FCT 4,301 3,019 1,237 45
Oyo 2,843 1,410 1,402 31
Edo 2,367 186 2,085 96
Rivers 1,938 276 1,609 53
Kano 1,609 252 1,303 54
Delta 1,557 110 1,404 43
Kaduna 1,550 186 1,352 12
Ogun 1,430 187 1,219 24
Plateau 1,397 748 629 20
Ondo 1,278 597 654 27
Enugu 880 377 485 18
Ebonyi 838 19 793 26
Kwara 826 462 343 21
Katsina 746 265 457 24
Borno 652 48 569 35
Gombe 626 73 530 23
Abia 625 103 517 5
Osun 605 263 329 13
Bauchi 576 36 526 14
Imo 476 318 148 10
Nasarawa 367 136 223 8
Benue 356 285 64 7
Bayelsa 346 22 303 21
Jigawa 322 3 308 11
Akwa Ibom 234 55 171 8
Niger 226 49 165 12
Adamawa 185 87 86 12
Ekiti 159 81 76 2
Sokoto 154 138 16
Anambra 142 41 83 18
Kebbi 90 82 8
Zamfara 77 1 71 5
Taraba 72 13 55 4
Cross River 68 18 42 8
Yobe 67 2 57 8
Kogi 5 3 2

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BREAKING: Edo Assembly: Bola Tinubu attacks Obaseki, makes fresh claims against Governor

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The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, has reacted to recent events at the Edo State of Assembly, describing Governor Godwin Obaseki’s actions as “the gravest possible assault on constitutional democracy and the rule of law and escalation of violence and tension in the state he purports to govern.”

Tinubu said this in a statement he personally signed and made available to DAILY POST on Friday.

The former State Governor berated Obaseki, accusing him of making a mockery of ’s constitution by blocking the timely inauguration of two-thirds of the elected members of the Edo State House of Assembly, and now resorting to the strong-arm tactics of dictators.

According to Tinubu, Obaseki had sponsors hoodlums to deface, indeed destroy, parts of the House of Assembly Building in Benin while feigning the building is undergoing renovation.

“Then, he imports sand and gravels to prevent access to the assembly complex,” Tinubu said.

He noted that by this singular act, Obaseki spent state “funds to thwart the very apparatus of the state government he was sworn to uphold.”

Tinubu said that the Governor squandered “public money to defeat the very will of the public. This is tragic beyond words.”

The statement added, “As a pretext for his refusal to allow the Edo House of Assembly to function, Governor Obaseki’s actions are perverse. This is a cowardly act and a move to thwart representative democracy in Edo.

“No renovation has been planned for the state house building. No appropriation was made in the state’s budget. The only reason any renovation could be deemed necessary is the destruction wrought by his own goons.

“Governor Obaseki’s governance of Edo State recalls the worst excesses of our military past and represents a direct threat to the democratic order. By his refusal to permit duly elected members of the Edo State House of Assembly to perform their constitutional duties, Governor Obaseki betrayed contempt for the people of his state and, unfortunately, his ignorance of Nigeria’s constitutional order. As a Governor he ought to know better than to obstruct the functioning of his own legislature, but perhaps he is in need of a quick lesson.

“The legislative function is, perhaps, the most foundational obligation of any government. In the UK, the Parliament was famously said to be “that supreme and absolute power, which gives life and motion to the English government”. In most democratic systems, the legislature is the arm of government containing within itself the people’s representatives in government.

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“As such, the legislative arm is critical. It is an important symbol of democratic governance. The voice, will and desires of the people are reposed in their elected representatives sent to the legislature to express and distil their amorphous will into the laws and codes by which the society has agreed to live.

“In the context of a constitutional democracy such as ours, the legislature’s authority stems, in effect, from the recognition that it is the authentic mouthpiece of the people, entrusted with the responsibility of representing their collective will and the power to interpret and mould it into the laws of the land. It is, in short, not to be toyed with as a plaything of an errant and ill-disciplined governor. Undermine the legislature and you imperil democracy and allow governance to descend into anarchy.

“Indeed, it is no coincidence that of the three arms of government, the powers of the legislature are enumerated first, in our Constitution. The legislature is the authority imbued with the power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the federation and states. Indeed, the Constitution makes clear that a Governor’s role primarily extends to the maintenance and implementation of the laws set down for him by his state’s legislature.

“In placing himself above the legislature, deciding who gets in and who is shut out, Governor Obaseki not only places himself above the nation’s constitutional order, he places himself above the people of Edo State whose representatives he so brazenly tramples upon. One can only wonder, given the desperation with which he has acted and his belligerent refusal to honour the free choice of the people of his own state, what mortal offence the majority members he has shut out have committed to warrant such treatment.

“Although Governor Obaseki’s conduct in the past year is undoubtedly impeachable, these legislators have made no threat to impeach the Governor. Their only desire is to peacefully perform the duties asked of them by the constituents who elected them. What, then, is their offence?

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“By all appearances, the Governor is punishing these legislators for their loyalty to a party that is no longer his own. If every governor behaves as he, obstructing the performance of any legislator who does not pledge to him their undying fealty, the entire edifice of democratic governance in Nigeria would grind to a complete halt.

“In his campaign for re-, Governor Obaseki promises to represent and defend the interests of all the people of his state. Yet, so blinded is he by his personal ambition, he sees no irony in the fact that his actions have denied two-thirds of the people of his state their right to representation in the state’s only legislative chamber.

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“Governor Obaseki must think the people of his state to be as foolhardy and ignorant as he, for even as he courts their votes, he continues to make a mockery of the institution of democracy in his own House of Assembly. If Governor Obaseki believes the people are not aware of this inherent irony, he will undoubtedly learn the cost of this grave miscalculation in the fullness of time.

“The rule of law and preservation of democracy is too important to sacrifice at the altar of any one man’s ambition. Governor Obaseki’s woeful leadership of Edo State will hopefully be brought to an end soon by the very people whose rights he has so carelessly trampled upon. One can only hope that the damage he is doing to the most important of the state’s democratic institutions can just as easily be repaired.”

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