By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The National Assembly (NASS) has been urged to make presidential and governorship debates mandatory.
This appeal was made by the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP). The group stressed that debates would deepen democracy in the country.
The association made this call to the parliament on the heels of the controversy surrounding the ongoing presidential debates in Nigeria ahead of the 2023 general elections.
CNPP wants the arm of government to take steps to enact a law to make participation in presidential and governorship debates a mandatory part of the Nigerian electoral process.
In a statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr Willy Ezugwu, the group recalled that “in the history of election debates in the country, it is either that some candidates deliberately refused to attend the debates or they were excluded by the organisers based on their prejudices.”
According to the CNPP, “legalising the presidential and governorship debates will go a long way in helping the electorates to make informed decisions on the choice of the Chief Executive Officer of a state or the Federal Republic of Nigeria or even the choice of a lawmaker to represent his or her constituency.”
The CNPP added that “In advanced democracies, like the United States, where Nigeria borrowed her presidential system from, candidate debates are not constitutionally mandated, but they are considered an intrinsic part of the American electoral process such that no serious contender in the United States presidential race can afford to stay away from any scheduled candidates’ debates.
“While Nigeria has been holding presidential and governorship debates, they have been everything but organised and mandatory for candidates to appear.
“In Nigeria, media organisations and nongovernmental bodies have attempted to set up platforms for presidential and governorship debates, but participation remained at the discretion of the candidates or that of the organisers.
“So, over the years, organisers selected preferred candidates they considered to be top contenders and unjustly excluded the rest of the contestants, thereby failing to provide a level playing field for all candidates to participate.
“The CNPP believes that in order for election debates by candidates to achieve the intended purposes, there is a need to make governorship and presidential debates mandatory for all candidates and their political parties to participate.
“Candidates debates should be consciously made a veritable platform for the general public to screen persons seeking to represent them at any level in government through elections and as an avenue to increase political participation in the country.
“The CNPP, therefore, calls on the National Assembly to immediately set up modalities for making it customary for the candidates to engage in a debate as part of Nigeria’s electioneering process, especially at the presidential and governorship levels in the first instance.
“This can be achieved by enacting a law for the establishment of a National Commission on Election Debates (CED), with a mandate to organise debates for candidates in Nigeria.
“The commission should be empowered to appropriately sanction candidates that fail to participate, including imposing severe penalties in fines, among others.
“If it takes Nigeria a constitution amendment to achieve this, it will be a legacy achievement worth leaving by any administration as the overall gains of establishing such a Commission for the purposes of developing and deepening the Nigerian democracy cannot be quantified in monetary terms.
“Mandatory candidate debates will, therefore, serve as an enlightenment platform and an avenue for engagement of candidates, giving the electorates the opportunity to interface with their would-be leaders for a proper assessment to determine their levels of preparedness for leadership, their commitment to good governance and their readiness to be held accountable by the electorates after winning elections,” the CNPP stated.
Olatubosun Suggests Home-grown Method of Teaching Yoruba Culture
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in Oyo State, Mr Wasiu Olatubosun, has suggested that the Yoruba culture can be taught effectively through a home-grown teaching method.
At the 2022 Ijala Are-Ode Cultural Festival in Ibadan, the Commissioner emphasised that for the Yoruba race to conquer the world, its people must appreciate who they are, learn the things of the race, and behave truly like omoluabis.
He informed participants of the programme with the theme Ijala: Beyond Social Gyration to Intellectual Exposition of Yoruba Cultural Heritage that the state government, under Governor Seyi Makinde, has shown commitment to resuscitating the Yoruba culture and tradition among the younger generation through a re-introduction of history classes to public schools in the state.
Mr Olatubosun, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Oye Oyedele, assured that the state government would continue to promote the growth of the language and the culture of Yoruba.
In his contribution, a veteran actor and Araba Awo of Osogbo, Mr Yemi Elebuibon, urged Africans to develop their culture, observing that it is a must to “first appreciate who they are and what they are.”
He also warned the Yorubas against jettisoning Ifa science and technology, adding that if care is not taken, in no distant future, people of the Yoruba tribe will soon be paying the Europeans for Ifa divination.
During his lecture, a scholar, Prof. Akinkunmi Adegbola Alao, said there was a need to go back to the basics, look beyond the social gyrations derived from Ijala by hunters, and find ways to deploy the intellectual foundation of Ijala in Yoruba cultural heritage, urging historians to research Yoruba cultural values that can benefit the society constantly.
He noted that although the immediate purpose of any traditional music performance is to entertain, the genre of music could influence a renaissance of Yoruba Culture and traditions, appealing to Africans, especially the Yorubas, to embrace and leverage indigenous technology to develop human society.
“We need to go back to the basics. Go beyond just the gyrations of individuals, amusing themselves, to unearth the intellectual premise of this rich cultural tradition,” he said.
Speaking on what led to the celebration of Ijala by hunters in those days, Mr Alao noted that the neglect by the political class gave room for chanting Ijala by the hunters to celebrate their contributions to society.
He applauded the efforts of hunters in maintaining peace within the boundaries of their society, admonishing the political class to stop forthwith diminishing their importance.
“The nature of their profession takes them away from domestic politics. They are always engaged in warfare and deep forest hunting, and so many other activities outside the immediate precinct of the established kingdoms. So many times, they are not on the ground to take part in the political process, so the political class diminished their importance,” he observed.
“But they resorted to Ijala to celebrate themselves, to call attention to their importance and to let people know they have contributed a lot to the development of the society,” he continued.
The culture enthusiast commended the Oyo State Government for partnering Ona-ara Development Forum in celebrating the Ijala are-ode cultural renaissance.
“Rather than denouncing our hunters, we must encourage them to use their knowledge towards the development of human society positively,” he noted, stating that the festival will open doors of opportunities to hunters, showcasing talents and the importance of the hunters’ guild.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman Organising Committee, Ijala Are-Ode Cultural Festival, Mr Dipo Gbenro, noted that the Ona Ara Development Forum seeks the development of Ona-Ara.
He also revealed that the forefathers of all Ona-Ara indigenes were hunters and warriors who played pivotal roles in the Agbekoya war, stating that Ijala is expository of intellectual content, spells history, and family lineage.
“Ijala explores and exposes the inadequacies of our leaders, promotes social relations and is rich with powerful words,” he said.
NDLEA Welcomes Training Support from French Police
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr Mohamed Buba Marwa, has commended the support from the Police Nationale (RAID) of France, especially in the areas of training and equipment.
The NDLEA boss said this in Abuja on Friday when the Police Attaché at the French Embassy in Nigeria, Mr Emmanuel Verin, led a team of French VIP trainers including Mr Cedric B. and Mr Christophe J. who were in the country to train a number of NDLEA officers in special operations, paid him a courtesy visit.
Speaking at the event, Mr Marwa said, “I would like to appreciate the French government for its support as one of our leading partners. We have received tremendous help from France not only in terms of training but also equipment.
“The support was capped with my recent visit to France, where we received a warm reception at all the institutions visited, and the training promised was promptly organized. We’re grateful for that, and we are looking forward to more collaboration and support.”
In his response, Mr Verin said, “we’re proud to work with NDLEA because your officers and men are very smart and professional, and that’s why you’re getting results; hence, our priority in terms of support for NDLEA is in the area of training.
“Our trainers who have been here to train your men are specialists and top in the field. We’ll do this for a very long time, and we’re glad to work with you.”
Paris Club Refund: Governors Move to Legally Block $418m Payment
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has said that it will explore all legal options on the disbursement of the $418 million Paris Club refund and promissory notes to ensure resources meant for state governments are not illegally paid to consultants.
The forum disclosed this in a statement issued by its Chairman, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, after the teleconference meeting of the 36 state governors.
“Regarding the $418 million Paris Club Refund and promissory notes issued to consultants by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO), the forum remains resolute in exploring all legal channels available to it in ensuring that resources belonging to states are not unjustly or illegally paid to a few in the guise of consultancy,” it said.
The Sokoto state governor said the group had also instructed its lawyers to approach the Federal High Court on the proposed privatisation of 10 National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) by the federal government.
“The forum, following its advocacy that the proposed privatisation of 10 NIPPs by the Federal Government should be stopped, instructed its lawyers to approach the Federal High Court, which at present has issued a court order restraining all the parties in the suit from taking any step or action that will make or render the outcome of the motion on notice seeking for interlocutory injunction nugatory.
“The effect of the order of the court is that respondents cannot proceed with the proposed sale of the power plants belonging to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHCL) until the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction,” he said.
Mr Tambuwal added that sequel to discussions between sub-sovereigns at the recently concluded 2nd African Sub-Sovereign Government Network (AfSNET) Conference, the forum agreed to pursue support for enhanced dialogue, cooperation and collaboration between sub-sovereign governments around intra-African trade, investment, industrialisation, and development.
He said that such would be done through membership in the Forum of Regions of Africa (FORAF) and its partnership with the African Export-Import (AFREXIM) Bank.
The governor said that the forum was also monitoring the flood situation across the country and working with the Federal Government to prepare emergency interventions to ameliorate the impact of the floods on food security.
Mr Tambuwal said that the forum was working with the Federal Government through the National Economic Council (NEC) and in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).
Others, according to him, include the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHDSD), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) and the World Bank.
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