13 September 2017

Nigeria: Dickson Gets Confidence Vote After Impeachment Rumours

Yenagoa — Following reports last week of intense scheming to remove the Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, by forces allegedly loyal to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, lawmakers in the state yesterday shut down the rumour and thereafter gave the governor a confidence vote.

A ruffled Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Konbowei Benson, told his colleagues after a long recess on the floor of the House , that the fate of any member of the party and political fortunes, including that of Dickson, was not tied to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The state lawmakers thereafter passed a vote of confidence on Dickson, "for his performance since 2012."

"There is nothing like impeachment here. No one can destabilise the state. Bayelsa as a state was 100 per cent PDP all the while. Before now, all members here were PDP, even those in opposition now. Our members were the ones that made APC strong.

"Our party should be wise. I am not speaking for the governor. But I know that anyone not happy with PDP is free to go elsewhere now that we have over 40 political parties. Nothing special anywhere even in the face of possible independent candidacy," Benson stated.

The motion for the vote of confidence was moved by Mr.Tonye Isenah, the member representing Kolokuma/Opokuma Constiuency I, before the Speaker raised the voice votes for the unanimous adoption.

Benson averred: "(even) in infrastructure and education. The state is now relatively peaceful. The governor has performed beyond imagination. There is no plot for impeachment.

"Please, don't divide the house. On my own, I will not deny a member his or her benefits. It is not my plan to look for avenue to run anyone down. My style is for us to live together."

He added: "If the state had been promoted the way Dickson has done, Bayelsa wouldn't have been known for militancy and other criminalities. In this state before, people were killing others. We couldn't go to our places.

"A man that has the political will to stop all of that, how can people be calling for his impeachment. I don't know why all of this should come."

Also contributing, Chief Mietema Obodor and two opposition members, Sunny Goli of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Alfred Belemote of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), said they were not aware of any plot to impeach the speaker and the governor.

The state assembly was also intimated of a letter from Dickson, urging the lawmakers to screen and confirm the governor's Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, as a commissioner.

I Want to Leave Behind a More Effective, Impactful Senate, Says Saraki

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has stated, ahead of the resumption of the Senate from its annual recess, that his focus since he assumed office as the presiding officer of the eighth Senate on June 9, 2015, has been to build an effective legislature that directly impacts the lives of all Nigerians.

According to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, yesterday, Saraki emphasised that the role of the legislature in a young democracy like Nigeria is often misconstrued, hence, it is necessary for the National Assembly to work towards positively influencing the lives of all Nigerians through its powers of lawmaking, oversight and advocacy.

"The Senate President is just first amongst equals," Saraki said, "However, what always motivates me is that drive to leave this institution better than we met it. I always like to leave a place stronger than I met it, and more capable to deliver on its constitutional role and functions than how it was before I got there.

"The difference between democracy and dictatorship is parliament. This is why I tell people that it is not about who the Senate President, the president, or the Chief Justice of Nigeria is, we must always work to strengthen all our institutions.

"For example, in four years, I'm gone. Somebody else will be there, but the institution will always remain. If you have weak parliament that is not effectively able to champion the needs of the people, you will have a weak democracy. However, because of myopic interest at times, some people do not see why we must protect the mandates and integrity of these institutions.

"When we decided to have a presidential system of governance, it was based on the fact that there must be checks and balances. When these safeguards are in place, it strengthens our democracy and promotes the sort of collaboration across the board that helps us meet the needs of Nigerians," the Senate President said.

Saraki also emphasised that the eighth Senate will continue to remain committed to people-centered governance.

"Moving forward, we will continue to target laws and interventions that will have direct benefits to all Nigerians. We have started this with our economic priority bills, and we can see the impact with the uptick in banks now lending to more MSMEs. However we will not stop here.

"With the slight improvement in our economy, it now behooves on all of us, the executive and the legislature, to work towards ensuring that these improvements translate directly to the pockets of Nigerians and the rising cost of living across the country. We have a lot of work ahead of us," he said.

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