Dogara Cautions Opposition Against Criticism of Governement

Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker, House of Representatives, at a five-day workshop organised by the National Institute Legislative Studies for members of Ugandan parliament on Monday in Abuja, has cautioned opposition members in parliament to avoid sensationalism in their criticisms of government policies.

Dogara, who was represented by the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said it was expedient for opposition to make sound contributions toward the efficient running of the economy.

“As opposition members, your contribution in committees must be based on facts and not conjecture and must be for the purpose of providing a different perspective to whatever issue is being considered.

“It should not be for the sole aim of countering the majority’s position for the sake of it.

‘By so doing, you are able to win the trust and confidence of members from the majority party.

“You must strive to be credible both in committees and in plenary. The exercise of your role as shadow governments should be done in a responsible manner, devoid of the need to be sensational or confrontational.

“You must be balanced and objective in your approach. Opposition parties should be able to commend government and majority parties when they are on the right path.

“In the same vein, they should chastise them if they are on the wrong path,” he said.

The speaker said he was aware of the difficulty opposition parties faced while supporting the government on a piece of legislation or in working to a consensus on a policy matter.

According to him, while such move will be in the national interest, there might be a negative perception of such stances by civil society and the citizenry which can be damaging to the status of the opposition.

Dogara stressed that minority interests that they represented as members of parliament, may feel aggrieved or neglected if consensus was easily reached with the ruling party.

“I will like to note that while there are no perfect systems, we must continually strive to improve upon our systems.

“This is especially where we have assessed and found that they fall short of assisting us to reach the desired heights in democratic governance.

“The high turnover rate that characterises parliament as an institution, means that robust systems and procedures are required to ensure that from one election to the other, the quality of parliamentary work is not diminished.

“As we continue to learn from each other, it is my hope that these experiences would not remain in the bosom of individuals.

“It is my hope we act and ensure that our institutions benefit from these lessons and implement them for the benefit of posterity, the growth of our representative assemblies and the countries at large,” he said.


Governors To Dogara: Account For N1tr House Budget

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has challenged the Speaker of the House of the Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to come clean on how over three trillion naira that accrued to the House under his watch was spent.
The NGF in a statement issued by its Head, Media and Public Affairs, Abulrazque Barkindo, also told  Dogara to account for another N115 billion annual budget.

The NGF in a statement issued by its Head, Media and Public Affairs, Abulrazque Barkindo, also told  Dogara to account for another N115 billion annual budget.
It alleged that Dogara’s inept management has thrown the Green Chamber into public ridicule and insisted that the era of using governors as punching bags to score cheap political points was over.

It alleged that Dogara’s inept management has thrown the Green Chamber into public ridicule and insisted that the era of using governors as punching bags to score cheap political points was over.

“Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara should know that the world has still not received a satisfactory explanation on how the National Assembly utilised over a trillion Naira of public resources through the years and its N115 billion annual budget has created its own monster in the hashtag (#OpenNASS).

“Moreover, Rt Hon Dogara should remove the log in his eyes before going for the speck in other people’s eyes. The poor leadership that he offers the House of Reps if truth be told, has reduced the institution in the eye of the Nigerian people so much that even members of Dogara’s kitchen cabinet have come out to openly accuse him of corruption.

“The grievous allegations levelled against Dogara by his chosen and now suspended Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Dr Abdulmumini Jibrin, are still hanging on Dogara’s neck. But mum is the word. Instead of providing answers, Rt Hon

Hon Dogara is busy depleting the hard-earned credibility of the House of Representatives from the cerebral height where his predecessor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, now a governor, left it.”

The NGF Secretariat’s position is a reaction to  “the incessant attacks on governors by the Speaker.”

It warned that the attacks on governors were overheating the polity and giving everyone cause for concern.

The NGF’s spokesman cited Dogora’s attack on Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State,  who he challenged to make public his salary and security votes,  and the Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar Ibrahim, who Dogara accused of non-performance.

Barkindo wondered if the  Speaker was oblivious of the giant steps being taken by the current set of governors to improve the quality of governance in the country and by implication the quality of life the governors were working assiduously to provide the Nigerian people.

“Of course, governors are human and can, therefore, not be adjudged to be all perfect. But the governorship institution is an integral part of this democracy, just as the House of Representatives is, and if the Speaker continues in this path of disparaging governors he may ultimately endanger this same democratic process that brought him national prominence.”

The NGF spokesperson noted that at the last Governors Forum meeting held on April 17, governors agreed to sign into the Open Governance Partnership (OGP), an agreement whose key indices included, but were not limited to fiscal transparency, anti-corruption, access to information and citizen engagement among several others.

“The OGP is an initiative of a former Managing Director of the World Bank which seeks to improve governance around the world, to which Nigeria has already become a signatory under the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Kaduna State has also signed and many more governors including Mohammed Abubakar Ibrahim are positively disposed to it. This, in summary, means that the era of using governors as punching bags to score cheap political points is over.”


Dogara Urges INEC To Activate Process Of Constituency Delineation Ahead Of 2019

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to activate the process of delineation of federal constituencies in accordance with provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
Speaking in an interview with NIGERIA NOW magazine, Dogara however suggested that the exercise will have to wait till 2019  elections to avoid a situation where sitting elected lawmakers may be displaced.The Speaker noted that  there have been clamours for more constituencies in view of rising population and other factors, and urged INEC to muster the political will to conduct the exercise in accordance with law.
“The delineation is  the  responsibility of INEC, I don’t know why they are not doing it, it’s not the responsibility of the National Assembly. So they will need to muster a lot of political will, as a matter of fact, there were even a lot of constituencies, state constituencies really, not federal, that were merged without reason. It’s been the basis of clamour, some have even gone to court and won the cases that they should restore those constituencies.”
“For example, a constituency in Benue State and my constituency were even affected. In Tafawa Balewa, we used to have a member representing Bula in the House and Lere, but Bula and Lere were merged, so it’s one of them. INEC has even submitted the report to us that these were the constituencies that were merged and the Supreme Court has said go and demerge them, but up till now it’s not been done.
“Now I understand having had preliminary discussions with the authorities that there may be some kind of reasons because if you now say you are demerging them right now, those who have won elections in those constituencies, it will amount to annulling those elections, they would have to conduct fresh elections in those constituencies. So the commitment is that they may do that, but it would be in the 2019 general elections, they may introduce the elections in those places.”
The Speaker hinted that the House Committee on Electoral Matters  may take up the issue of delineation of constituencies.
Dogara maintained that since 1999, most constituencies have had their population tripled or quadrupled which is a major prerequisite for delineation to take place. He stated that ordinarily, a federal constituency is supposed to constitute about 300,000 but some  constituencies presently consist of 800,000 or more people.

LG Autonomy: Nigerians Must Pressurise State Assemblies, Governors- Dogara

….Urges President Buhari To Weigh on LG Autonomy

Speaker of the House of Representatives,  Hon Yakubu Dogara, has called on Nigerians to lend their voices to the push for financial and administrative autonomy for local governments in the country , noting that if state Houses of Assembly are not pressurised, they may not vote in favour of the proposal.
The Speaker said this when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Good Governance Group, led by former military governor of Bauchi State, Gen Chris Abutu Garba (rtd), in his office.
 He maintained that there are beneficiaries of the present arrangement who will do everything possible to ensure that the proposed Constitution Amendment to wrest control of the resources of local governments from state governors does not scale through.
While calling on “civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, to stand up and be counted,” Dogara, also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to give support to the clamour for local government autonomy, as promised in his inaugural address on May 29, 2015.
The Speaker recalled that the President had pledged that actualising financial autonomy for local governments  will be in line with his resolved  not to allow people under him to betray the trust Nigerians have placed on them as leaders.
“This is a betrayal of trust given to some elected officials by the people who now abuse this trust,” he said, referring to some governors who divert funds meant for the development of local government areas.
 “It will take more than the will of the legislature at the federal level to ensure that these radical changes are achieved. We all know that in the last assembly, when we passed it to the states, most of the states voted it down that they don’t want the autonomy for local government councils. And in the process of amending the Constitution, the state legislators must be engaged, and we will have to have a return of 2/3rd approval from the state assemblies. So if we put forward these proposals and we fail to gather 2/3rd support it means that automatically it has failed and there is nothing that we can do about it.
“That is why we will start by lobbying you, even if I call it lobby, to make sure that we stand up as a people. Whenever things are not working, we should be able to close ranks, come together and say we are opposed to this system that is not delivering the goods, we want it completely excised from the body polity so that we can make progress. But if we keep quiet, nothing will happen.”
“If the state assemblies are not  pressured by stakeholders, I can assure you that we will not get that 2/3rd support. I am not a prophet, but we will not get it, except we have people like you who are ready to stand up and be counted by bringing pressure to the state governors and bringing pressure to the state assemblies and making sure that what this revolutionary amendment seeks to achieve in our Constitution is achieved.”
Earlier, leader of the delegation, Gen Chris Abutu Garba, tabled some requests of the Nigeria Good Governance Group to Speaker Dogara, including a fixed 4 year tenure for local government council chairmen, death penalty, confiscation of stolen property and blacklisting of family members of convicted corrupt government officials, fiscal federalism and allowances for graduates of higher Institutions who are unemployed, among others.

FG To Pay N720bn Debt To States – Dogara

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, has disclosed plans by the Federal Government to pay debts owed the 36 states by paying them N720bn with each state collecting N20bn apiece.

Dogara said the money would be used for the provision of infrastructure by the states.

Many states had in the past undertaken to rehabilitate failing Federal Government infrastructure in their domain, especially road projects with the understanding that they would be repaid by the latter.

A statement on Sunday by the Speaker’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Iliya Habila, quoted Dogara as making the disclosure during a visit to the Igwe of Ogwuekpele, His Royal Highness, Valentine Onyema-Ogidiga.

Dogara visited the monarch in his Ogwuekpele palace in Anambra State.

It read in part, “Regards to debts being owed to states, I can announce that very very soon, a chunk of money will be given to states.

“It is being processed and I know that no state will get less than N20bn from the money that is coming.

“That will be something substantial in the hands of the governors. Those that are spirited, I believe they will be able to translate that money into development so that they can support the diversification (agenda) of the Federal Government.”

The statement explained that Dogara was responding to complaints made by the monarch that social infrastructure in the state was decaying and needed urgent funds for resuscitation.

It added, “Without capital, you cannot invest; so these are the two things that this government is devoted to. By doing so, state governments can have enough capital; they will have the needed infrastructure for the establishment of functional industries for the evacuation of either solid minerals or agricultural products. And we know that agriculture has the potential of providing employment for the majority of our people.

“And I can assure you that when we talk about diversification, it is not just on paper. Recently, there are efforts by the government to source money so that it can begin in earnest the putting up of infrastructure; functional road networks, intermodal and multimodal connectivity of our transportation system and building airports, railways and integrating them with land transportation.

“These are the things that are on the agenda and then giving citizens access to cheap capital that they can use to better their lives and start business and provide employment that will earn us foreign exchange.”

The Igwe had earlier appealed to the Federal Government to support Anambra State in the building of infrastructure.

He said infrastructure would help farmers to move farm produce easily from the villages to urban markets in cities like Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi and beyond the state.

Budget Padding: Jibrin Challenges Suspension In New Suit

Former Chairman, Appropriation Committee of the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin has challenged his suspension from participating in the House’s activities for 180 days.
The legislator, who was recently suspended following his disagreement with the House’s leadership over alleged fraudulent conduct, including padding of the last national budget, is seeking N1billion damages against the defendants in a fresh suit he filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Jibrin, in the suit with House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, Clerk and others as defendants, wants the court to declare among others, that his suspension amounted to a violation of his fundamental human right to freedom of expression.
He equally wants a declaration that the resolution passed by the House, suspending him, was in breach of the provisions of Section 68 of the 1999 Constitution.
Jibrin wants an order of injunction restraining the House from preventing him from participating in its activities, including those of its Committees, or accessing the legislative chambers to perform his legislative duties.
He seeks an order for the award of N1 billion against the defendants as punitive and general damages for his unlawful suspension.
Justice John Tsosho, to who the case is assigned, has fixed hearing for November 22.
Meanwhile, Jibrin withdrew yesterday, an earlier suit he filed before before his suspension.
He had sought to restrain the House of Reps and its leadership from giving effect to the threat to suspend him.
Yesterday, Jibrin’s lawyer, Chukwuma Nwachukwu applied to withdraw the earlier case on the ground that it has been overtaken by event.
Although defendants’ lawyer, Kalu Onuoha demanded for cost from the plaintiff, Justice Tsoho struck out the suit, but declined Onuoha’s request for cost.

Recession: Senate Okays Invitation Of President Buhari To National Assembly

The Senate on Thursday backed a resolution of the House of Representatives to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to address a joint session of the National Assembly on ways out of the nation’s economic quagmire

The motion which stood in the name of Senate Leader, Ali Ndume reads: “That the Senate do concur with the House of Representatives Resolution passed on Thursday 22nd September, 2016.‎

“To invite the President and C-in-C to address a joint session of the National Assembly to intimate it on plans to get the country out of the recession to enable the House take further legislative action. “

Dogara Visits Adamawa IDPs, Says “Our Priority Is To Return All IDPs Home”

…Calls on international community to contribute to rebuilding North East

…Thanks military for stepping up fight against Boko Haram


Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has again called on the international community to increase its contribution towards the rebuilding of the North East region of Nigeria.

Dogara made the call on Saturday at Bajabure Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp Adamawa State in continuation of his tour of IDP camps across the country, according to a statement issued in Yola by his spokesman, Mr. Turaki Hassan.

The Speaker, who donated relief materials to the four IDP camps in Adamawa state, reiterated his call to the international community to help in rebuilding the region that has been ravaged by almost seven years of violence and destruction by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Dogara condoled with the people affected by the insurgency and assured them that the current government would not rest until they return home. He also commended the Nigerian security forces for decimating Boko Haram terrorists and recovering territories and communities which were previously under their control. He urged them to push on until all terrorists are routed and displaced persons return to their communities.

Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara (middle), Hon. Jibril Satumari (left) and Speaker, Adamawa State House of Assembly, Hon. Kabiru Mijinyawa in a group Photograph with Children at Yola IDP Camp on saturday 23, April 2016. Picture; Speaker's media Office.
Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara (middle), Hon. Jibril Satumari (left) and Speaker, Adamawa State House of Assembly, Hon. Kabiru Mijinyawa in a group Photograph with Children at Yola IDP Camp on saturday 23, April 2016. Picture; Speaker’s media Office.

The Speaker maintained that although the region is in dire need of development, peace must first be restored in order to provide the atmosphere for construction to commence. While assuring that as the voices of the people at the national level, the House would continue to draw the attention of the global community to their plight, the Speaker also disclosed that he would soon visit IDP camps in Maiduguri.

“Our decision was that we visit IDPs that are outside the theatre of conflict first and we have visited camps that are outside the North East. This is the first time we are visiting an IDP camp within the North East and hopefully, soon, we will cap this exercise with a visit to IDPs in Maiduguri and close the formal outreach; the rest, we will do in an informal way.”

Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara with Binta Mohammed, a girl at at the Damare IDP Camp located at the NYSC Camp, Yola, Adamawa state, on saturday 23, April 2016. Picture; Speaker's media Office.
Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara with Binta Mohammed, a girl at at the Damare IDP Camp located at the NYSC Camp, Yola, Adamawa state, on saturday 23, April 2016. Picture; Speaker’s media Office.

“We recognise the efforts of the military and we thank them for the sacrifice and reclaiming the seven local governments that were captured by Boko Haram. The reason we are here is not just to bring you these relief materials; as a responsible government, we know that the security of lives and properties is our primary purpose and so your security is of more importance than the things we are presenting,” the Speaker said.

“Even if we were to keep you here and feed you with the best of food, you will never be satisfied until you return home. That is our priority and we will do everything legally and politically possible to ensure that you get back to your homes very soon.”

Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara being received by the Governor of Adamawa state, Sen. Mohammed Umar Jibrilla Bindow at government House, Yola Adamawa state on saturday 23, April 2016. Picture; Speaker's media Office.
Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara being received by the Governor of Adamawa state, Sen. Mohammed Umar Jibrilla Bindow at government House, Yola Adamawa state on saturday 23, April 2016. Picture; Speaker’s media Office.

“As your representatives, we will ensure that we tell your story to the world and we promise – as your voice in the national stage – to tell the world about you. In this era of dwindling resources, it will be difficult for the government to rebuild the region alone. We need the support of the international community. We who wear the shoes know where it pinches most and we are in a better position to tell these stories.”

Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara making a Symbolic Presentation of relief Materials to a little Internally Displaced girl, Zainab Ahmadu during his visit to the IDP Camp in Yola, Looking on are Hon. Ali Isa (Left), NEMA DG. Alh. Mohammed Sani Sidi (right) and IDP Chairman, Madu Gana Boni(middle) on saturday 23, April 2016. Picture; Speaker's media Office.
Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara making a Symbolic Presentation of relief Materials to a little Internally Displaced girl, Zainab Ahmadu during his visit to the IDP Camp in Yola, Looking on are Hon. Ali Isa (Left), NEMA DG. Alh. Mohammed Sani Sidi (right) and IDP Chairman, Madu Gana Boni(middle) on saturday 23, April 2016. Picture; Speaker’s media Office.

Speaking earlier, the Director General of the National Emergency Management Commission (NEMA), Sani Sidi, disclosed that the camp has 2,903 people, out of whom 1, 338 are children below the age of 13 years, 179 are lactating mothers, with 54 pregnant women and 51 unaccompanied children.

Receiving the relief materials on behalf of the IDPS, the chairman of the camp, Malam Madu Gana Goni, commended the Speaker for his gesture towards them. He said that as the Speaker rightfully noted, they were eager to return home.

2016 Budget: Dogara Rejects N3bn N’East Projects Earmarked For Him

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has turned down the N3billion assigned to him for zonal projects in the North-east in his capacity as a principal officer of the House, it was gathered yesterday.

This is coming just as the Speaker and President Muhammadu Buhari have agreed to work together to resolve the crisis arising from the controversy over the 2016 budget.

It would be recalled that the House, had in an executive session on Wednesday, delegated the Speaker to meet with President Buhari to identify areas of concern in the budget and find a way of resolving it.

Dogara, it was learnt, met with President Buhari who was represent by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that same Wednesday evening at the presidential villa, Abuja, to address controversial issues about the fiscal document.

A source close to the Speaker said that Dogara had rejected the N3bn meant for his zone as principal officer ab initio, saying that the money should be used to finance other important projects.

The source who preferred not to be named in print also disclosed that the Speaker, at the meeting with Osinbajo who represented President Buhari gave the President assurance that the lower chamber will work with the Executive to resolve all grey areas in the budget which was passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to him for assent.

Our source also disclosed that Dogara told the President that the N4 billion projects injected into the budget by the Chairman of the committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin for his Kiru/Bebeji Constituency in Kano state will be reallocated to other projects in the budget.

The House of Representatives had come under criticism for removing important projects such as the Calabar-Lagos rail project from the budget even though it maintains it was never among the projects submitted by the President.

The lawmakers were accused to have left the Kano/Lagos rail project untouched but also reduced the amount set for the completion of the Idu-Kaduna rail project which is said to have reached an advanced stage of completion by N8.7 billion.

Furthermore, the House was reported to have either removed or reduced provisions made in the areas of Agriculture and water resources aimed at diversification and moved the funds to provision of boreholes which had been provided for elsewhere.

But clarifying on the issue, the spokesperson of the House, Hon. Abdulaziz Namdas, at a briefing on Wednesday said, “We are not saying the Calabar-Lagos rail project is not good, we know it is a viable project. Our area of concern is what people are saying that it was in the budget and we removed it. That project was not among the projects submitted by Mr. President to the National Assembly”

@SpeakerDogara Honoured By Commonwealth

The Royal Commonwealth Society Nigeria on Thursday, honoured the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, with Commonwealth Ambassador’s Award for leading the legislators to pass 130 bills in a day.

The Vice President of the association, Mr Abdullahi Faruk, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the 2016 Commonwealth Day Celebration in Abuja that the feat was novel.

NAN reports that a total of 130 bills passed first reading at the House of Representatives on Dec. 10, 2015, a development Dogara, described as “unprecedented”.

“We looked at the antecedents of the person of Yakubu Dogara, how he has taken the mantle of legislative leadership.

“We looked at how he has, for the very first time, introduced over 100 bills in one day for the legislators to deliberate for the good of Nigerians.

“We looked at the feat, it is an all-inclusive kind of governance for Nigerian people and he deserved that recognition and that is why the Commonwealth gave him that recognition.”

Faruk, however, said that the recognition given to the Speaker was to ensure that he continued to deliver for the good of the Nigerian people.

The Chairperson, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mrs Nnenna Ukeje-Elendu, who represented Dogara, told NAN that Nigeria had benefitted a lot from her membership of the Commonwealth.

“The Commonwealth gives us another opportunity and platform where we can converse about Nigeria outside of the United Nations and other international organisations that we belong to.

“This opportunity is such that grows and emancipates our people and deepens our democracy,” she said.

Ukeje-Elendu noted that Nigeria, as the largest country and the largest economy in Africa, could not live in isolation in a world that had become increasingly without borders.

She explained that Nigeria was indeed recognised and affirmed by those international institutions it belonged to as the “giant of Africa”.

“The Commonwealth is an association of people who have filial, historical affinities and is a platform where we can actually speak on the issues that matter to us most.

“These issues are freedom, gender equality, global and security, and bridging the gap of poverty, diversification, creating platform for trade and to speak about the things that affect us.”

Reps Order Suspension Of Planned Speed Limit Device

Nigeria’s House of Representatives has directed the Federal Road Safety Commission to suspend its planned enforcement of the Speed limit device in vehicles.

Subsequently, the FRSC Chief Executive Officer, Boboye Oyeyemi is to appear before the House Committee on Road Safety to explain why the commission chose the speed limiters above more modern technology.

It had been reported that by April this year, Nigeria’s road safety agency will commence the enforcement of the use of speed limiter device on vehicles plying the nation’s roads.

From that date, commercial vehicles are expected not to go more than eighty kilometres per hour while private vehicles’ limit is one hundred kilometres per hour

The Commission believes this will go a long way in reducing incidences of road crashes which often lead to loss of lives and properties.

But members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives are disapproving of the Commission’s initiative.

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