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June 12: PDP reacts to Buhari’s Democracy Day speech, attacks President

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s Democracy Day speech.

PDP said Buhari showed disregard for the tenets of democracy and lack of “commitments or assurances on fundamental issues of constitutionality, rule of law, separation of power, justice, fairness, free speech and rights of citizens, which are the hallmarks of

In a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the opposition party stressed that Buhari showed no remorse over the alleged manipulations, infractions and

violence that characterized the 2019 general elections, under his watch.
The statement reads: “We invite Nigerians to note how President Buhari’s address clearly shows a disregard for the tenets of democracy as he (Mr. President) had
no clear commitments or assurances on fundamental issues of constitutionality, rule of law, separation of power, justice, fairness, free speech and rights of citizens, which are the hallmarks of democracy.

“Mr. President also had no regrets for the manipulations, infractions and violence that characterized the 2019 general elections, under his watch, for which the nation now has an unprecedented 766 election petitions,
including the highly manipulated Presidential election.

“President Buhari did not express any form of remorse for the barefaced constitutional violations, assault on institutions of democracy, particularly the legislature and the judiciary; human rights violations, assault on the media and the general siege mentality in the polity under
his watch.

“It is sad that on a day like this, Mr. President dwelt on false performance claims and had no soothing word for millions of compatriots that have been subjected to the worst form of economic misery, that they are now resorting to suicide and slavery mission abroad.

“He also had no words of hope for the victims of escalated insurgency, kidnapping, banditry and bloodletting in various parts of our nation.

“How can this administration superintend over a Democracy Day celebration when it has questions of constitutional violations, electoral manipulations, media clampdown, victimization of opposition, emasculation of free speech, brutalization, arbitrary arrests and illegal detention, as already detailed in various reports, including those by the United States Department of State.

“It is disheartening that the same electoral manipulation, violations and injustices for which the icon of June 12 Democracy Day, Chief MKO Abiola died, have brazenly taken center stage under the APC misrule.

“Today, just like on June 12, 1993, our citizens are despondent, particularly over the rigging of the February 23, 2019 Presidential election as their quest for a people-oriented and inherently democratic leadership to move our nation forward was frustrated, consequent upon
which our party and our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, are seeking justice.”

PDP, however, urged Nigerians not to despair but continue in their aspiration for the retrieval of its stolen presidential mandate at the tribunal “so that the nation will have a truly democratic and purposeful leadership for the good of all.”

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FG workers make demands from Buhari

Some Federal Government workers on Monday have demanded President Muhammadu Buhari to give priority to timely payment of pensions and gratuities to retirees.

The workers made the plea in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Lagos, at the pre- retirement workshop organised by National Pension Commission (PenCom) for workers due to retire in 2020.

They noted that retirees were being made to wait endlessly before receiving their benefits, despite serving their fatherland for more than 30 years.

One of the workers, Mr Olusegun Oga, a a staff of Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos, told NAN that the delay in settling retirees’ gratuities and pensions had brought discomfort to many retired workers and their families.

“Most times, retirees find it difficult to make ends meet after retirement, this happen because of the long period awaited for gratuities and pensions payments.

“President Buhari must ensure that retirees get there benefits a month after retirement.

“A federal government worker should be paid like workers in the private sector that access their gratuities immediately after retirement,” he said.

Mr Olufela Fashoro, an Assistant Editor- in-Chief in NAN, also urged the government to fast track the payment process, as doing so would ease the hardships retirees go through and make them live long.

Another worker set for retirement, Mr Ime Abakada, commended PenCom for organising the workshop, but said it must improve on the payment process.

”The workshop is a good thing, it has created a lot of awareness for us, but the government should improve on pension payments process,” he said.

Mrs Ekanem Aikhomu, Head, Benefit and Insurance Department, PenCom, while reacting to the pleas said the commission had written to President Buhari on the payment of all accrued pensions.

Aikhomu said the President, thorough the Ministry of Finance is working hard to ensure that retirees’ plight come to an end.

“For instance, the amount we budgeted in 2019 to clear Accrued Pension of Retirees was not reduced, unlike the previous ones.

”Though, we won’t disclose the amount, but all we are waiting for is cash backing,” she said.

The Head, Corporate Communications, PenCom, Mr Peter Aghahowa further said the Commission will not relent in making the country’s pension landscape at par with developed countries.

He said the Commission’s commitment to all citizens was one major reason it developed micro pension scheme to attract informal sector workers into the new pension scheme.

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What 9th Senate agreed to do on Thursday

The 9th Senate, on Thursday, resolved to write an official letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, informing him that a quorum of the Senate had assembled and that its presiding officers have been elected.

The upper chamber also resolved to inform the international parliamentary bodies that a quorum of the Senate of the 9th National Assembly has assembled and was ready to receive any communication, NAN reports.

The decision followed a motion by Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, the Deputy Senate President, at plenary presided over by Senate President Ahmed Lawan in Abuja on Thursday.

Moving the motion, Omo-Agege urged: ”that the Senate should send a message to Mr President C-in-C informing him that a quorum of the Senate has assembled and that the presiding officers of the 9th National Assembly of the Senate have been elected.

”They are Sen. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (Yobe North), Senate President; Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central), Deputy Senate President.”

He urged the Senate to also send a message to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, and his Deputy, Mr Idris Wase, congratulating them on their election and informing them that the Senate had elected its President officers.

Omo-Agege listed the international parliamentary bodies, which letters would be written to, to include the African Union (AU), Common Wealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

Other are, ECOWAS Parliament, Pan African Parliament and the Association of Senate, Shoora and Equivalent Council in Africa and the Arab World (ASSECAA).

The lawmaker also urged the Senate to direct the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Muhammad Sani-Omolori, “to advise the Secretary to the Government of the Federation that a quorum of the Senate has assembled and is ready to receive any communication from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

After some contributions by the lawmakers, Omo-Agege moved for a motion to go into a closed-door session for discussion of urgent matters.

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How Diplomatic Blunders Marred June 12, Democracy Day

World leaders and the visiting head of governments were on Thursday snubbed by the hosts of Nigeria’s June 12 Democracy Day Celebrations, President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-president Yemi Osibanjo.

At the lacklustre event, dignitaries and heads of government were made to arrive the venue ahead of President Buhari and VP Osibanjo.

Leaders such as Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Macky Sall of Senegal who arrived early were received by illegally operating service chiefs with expired tenures.

The humiliation was however solidified when APC henchmen such as Buba Marwa (favored by the first lady, Aisha Buhari to become Secretary to the government), Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the state government, APC chieftain Bisi Akande, Bola Ahmed Tinubu among others were offered front seats while Presidents of Niger Republic, Mauritania, and Namibia among others, were seated on back rows seats, alongside personal Aides of the President and Vice President.

The diplomatic blunder did not start on Thursday, June 12.

It started when the Presidential Inauguration Committee despatched invitations through the various national embassies in Abuja before an abrupt decision was taken to withdraw the invitations extended to foreign leaders to attend the Inauguration ceremony.

A fresh invitation was thereafter despatched, inviting them to attend the June 12 celebrations, an event with no diplomatic significance.

The event was bereft of spectacular displays or meaningful activity which warranted the assembly of world leaders and diplomats was visibly ignored by all former Nigerian head of state including Gen. Yakubu Gowon who was the sole former Nigerian leader to attend the May 29 inauguration.

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