Press zooms in on assurance of no alteration of Electoral Act Amendment Bill, others

The assurance by the Speaker of the House of Representatives that the Electoral Act Amendment Bill has not been altered,…

The assurance by the Speaker of the House of Representatives that the Electoral Act Amendment Bill has not been altered, declaring that only the authentic bill will be passed dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.ThisDay reports that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday debunked reports that the Electoral Act Amendment Bill has been altered, declaring that only the authentic bill will be passed.

He decried reports that the lawmakers were planning to remove electronic transmission of election results from the Electoral Act amendment bill, saying that they were yet to receive the report from the committee.

Gbajabiamila’s statement was in response to a point of order raised by a member, Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo, who said his constituents have inundated him with calls, demanding why the lawmakers would refuse electronic transfer of election results.

Ozurigbo said: “A number of Nigerian have been calling me to express worry about the alteration to the electoral act. I don’t know the information going around where they said that we carefully amended Section 50 Subsection 2 that the agreed electronically transmitted election result have been changed to manually transmitted. I think my privilege has been breached.”

Responding, the Speaker said he had made it a habit not to respond to every media report, as the committee saddled with the responsibility of working on the Electoral Act was yet to submit a report to the House.

“I really don’t want to speak to a report that has not been submitted to this house. We have procedures, time-tested,” he said.

The Guardian says that the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has rejected the position of the Southern governors that the 2023 presidency should be zoned to the Southern part of the country, arguing that the presidency is a democratic office and not a rotational position.

In its response yesterday to Monday’s ‘Lagos Declaration’, the Forum maintained that the North would not be threatened, intimidated or blackmailed into giving up its right to a democratic office, as the region should not be compelled to give up a democratically elected office that can be sought by any person irrespective of where he comes from.

The Forum’s position was made in a statement by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed. NEF observed that as far as the North was concerned, the idea that it would be threatened, intimidated or blackmailed into yielding an office that ought to be settled democratically is not acceptable.

“Thus, NEF sees the decision of the Southern governors as an expression of sentiment that could be best discussed within a political process. We are running a democratic government and decisions over where the next president comes from are basically decisions that will be made by voters exercising their rights to choose which candidate best serves their interest.”

The Forum explained that the Southern governors come from the two dominant parties: All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Baba-Ahmed noted that the way it should be done was that the southern governors should influence their parties to zone the presidency to Southern states and then work to convince Nigerian voters from all parts of the country to vote for that candidate.

The Nation reports that Nigeria did not make the list of 51 developing countries named by the World Bank as beneficiaries for its $4 billion Covid-19 vaccines.

In its latest report on vaccine funding and deployment, the multilateral institution announced over $4 billion for the purchase and deployment of Covid-19 vaccines for 51 developing countries, half of which are in Africa.

But Nigeria’s name was conspicuously missing in the long list of beneficiaries posted on its website that include Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Benin, Cabo Verde, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and The Gambia.

Also in the list are Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, Yemen, Zambia, among others.

World Bank Managing Director of Operations, Axel van Trotsenburg, said the global lender is helping developing countries in every region of the world with vaccine purchase and rollout. The World Bank said its vaccine finance package is designed to be flexible.

The Punch says that Nigeria faces a six-year delay in achieving Sustainable Development Goals, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The Managing Director, IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, said this on Tuesday in a statement titled ‘UN high level political forum on sustainable-development’.

She said as countries worked to beat the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure recovery, they must also work to give everyone a fair shot at the future that was sustainable, more resilient, and more inclusive, which would march toward the Sustainable Development Goals.

She said that the IMF raised its global growth forecast to six per cent in 2021 and four per cent in 2022, adding that it recognised the exceptional and synchronised fiscal and monetary actions by policymakers around the world to cushion the impact of the crisis.

Without them, she said, the recession in 2020 would have been three times worse which would have been another great depression.

The newspaper reports that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Tuesday said refined petroleum products would be exported from Nigeria to other countries in the next two years.

Nigeria currently imports refined petroleum products such as petrol, kerosene, diesel, etc, while the NNPC has been the sole importer of petrol into the country for more than three years.

This came as the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, also announced on Tuesday that the presidency would give timely consideration to the Petroleum Industry Bill that was recently passed by the National Assembly.

Osinbajo and Kyari spoke during an oil and gas event in Abuja. The vice president assured stakeholders that the PIB would receive the necessary urgency it required.

Speaking through the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, Osinbajo said, “As you are aware, just last week the National Assembly passed the long awaited PIB.

The Sun says that the Managing Director, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), Mr Tony Attah, has said Nigeria can become the world’s number one nation in oil and gas if deliberate actions are taken to actualise the ambition.

Attah, represented by Mrs Eyono Fatayi-Williams, General Manager, External Relations, NLNG, stated this on Tuesday, at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja.

He said Nigeria with its current gas reserves of 206 trillion cubic feet (tcf) and possible 600 tcf was capable of being the world’s major oil and gas economy once it gets its plan right.

The NLNG boss further noted that the development of the country’s gas sector would eventually determine its future and its infrastructure.

“The flexibilities, the management space, disruption in the business environment means that our response to this reality is what will determine our future.

Attah said that 12,000 direct jobs, 40,000 indirect jobs and 10 billion dollars Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), were some of the benefits that would follow the “Train 7” gas project upon completion. He also said that domestic gas supply of LPG would be boosted by 35 per cent from the 350,000 metric tonnes to over 470,000 metric tonnes.

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