Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan has strongly called for the discarding of the off-season elections in the nation’s political calendar, describing the electoral practice as odd.
Jonathan expressed concern that if the country continued with off-season polls, a time would come when even the presidential election might become an off-cycle election.
He spoke in an interview with journalists after he and his wife, Patience, cast their votes in Saturday’s off-cycle Bayelsa State governorship election at Ward 13 in Otuoke, Ogbia LGA.
He called on the National Assembly to block off-season polls as it was not a global best practice.
Jonathan commended the conduct of peaceful governorship polls by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the three states of Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi.
The former president said, “Basically this is an off-season election. I get worried about the issue of off-season elections, and I will use this unique opportunity to plead with the National Assembly that we need to block off-season elections.
“It’s very odd, it’s not a global best practice. A country can elect its people at different times, like the American election and some countries. They may not elect everybody at the same time but the only time they go on to conduct elections, they elect everybody that is supposed to be elected.
“If we continue with this trend of off-season elections based on the interpretation of our law by a judicial officer, it will come to a time when the presidential election in Nigeria may be conducted off-season.”
He continued: “Probably, that is time that the media and others will realize it. Look at the American (US) system, everybody knows when American elections will be conducted. That’s the standard in other countries.
“And when I say presidential election in Nigeria may be off-season one day, some may say ‘why, how?’. It almost almost happened in 2007 when I contested as running mate to the late President Yar’Adua.
“In that election, the seven justices that presided over the case, three of them through their judgment held that the election be annulled, four of them sustained it.
“If one of them had crossed over, by now, the Nigerian presidential election would have been off-season.”
COP 28: Minister Calls for Urgent Global Action Against Climate Change
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar has underscored the urgent need for concerted global action to address the pressing challenges of climate change.
The Minister observed while speaking at the ongoing 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Tuggar said that Nigeria is leading the fight against climate change in Africa by setting ambitious and realistic goals.
He said: “Nigeria has ratified its commitments through a Climate Change Act and a National Council on Climate Change (NCCC). Through these, Nigeria set ambitious, albeit realistic, goals, and I am proud to state that we have hit the ground running, transforming our commitments into tangible climate action.”
He emphasized the critical role of collaboration, innovation, and shared responsibility in combating the escalating climate crisis.
Tuggar also posited that “Nigeria is on track to deploy 100 Electric buses, next year with plans to increase to 1,000 E-buses, aiming to become the country with the largest electric mass transit fleet in Africa. This initiative will reduce emissions and indicate my administration’s commitment to catalyzing the market for green project deployments, job creation, and industrialization across critical sectors.”
The Minister while acknowledging the severity of the climate emergency, highlighted the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities and ecosystems across the globe.
He stressed the importance of upholding the principles outlined in the Paris Agreement, emphasizing the need for all nations to commit to ambitious and transparent climate targets.
He also reaffirmed the commitment of Nigeria to its nationally determined contributions, underscoring the nation’s dedication to achieving net-zero emissions by 2060.
Tuggar however called upon the international community to transcend political differences and work collaboratively towards meaningful and immediate climate solutions., expressing a resounding commitment to fostering international cooperation, encouraging innovation, and securing a sustainable future for generations to come.
He highlighted Nigeria’s support for initiatives that advance climate resilience, technology transfer, and capacity-building in developing nations, and emphasized the importance of financial commitments from developed nations to assist developing countries in their transition to low-carbon economies.
This Government Is Focused On Delivering Good Governance To Our Peoole, Says Otti
Abia State Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has reiterated that his government is focused on delivering good governance to the people of the State.
Governor Otti spoke on Monday when he met with a delegation of Bulgarian diplomats led by the Ambassador of Bulgaria to Nigeria, His Excellency, Yanko Yordanov.
In a statement from Kazie Uko, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Otti said that his government was very serious and focused on impacting positively the lives of the people of the state.
“The government we have in Abia State right now is very serious. We are focused on delivering good governance to our people, and good governance speaks to welfare, it speaks to healthcare delivery, it speaks to education, and of course security and economic well-being of the people, and we are single-minded in delivering those to our people,” he said.
Governor Otti, who said that his government was willing to partner with the Bulgarian government, stated that he was impressed with the areas the Bulgarian government had chosen to assist the State.
“I am very happy in the areas that you have chosen to intervene and to support us; food is everything and there’s no important security you will be talking about without talking about food security,” the Governor declared.
According to Governor Otti, Abia is blessed with good vegetation and boasts of agricultural products such as cocoa, oil palm, rubber, cashew, and maize among others.
“We are luckily blessed with good vegetation and naturally, we produce a lot of food. I believe that with improved seedlings and better technology and of course, the training you talked about, there is no better time to come to us than now. We are still at the drawing table,” he enthused.
Dr. Otti, widely acknowledged as the most performing governor among his peers, said his government would welcome a trade partnership with Bulgaria and access to the European market for products from AbiaState.
“I believe that this is the time we should begin to look at it as a serious business. We are happy and we are willing to work with you at any level that you want to make a success out of the land God has blessed us with and all products that can come out of it,” he said, adding that the State would submit itself to superior training and technology.
Earlier, the Bulgarian Ambassador to Nigeria, said the delegation was in the State to seek collaboration with Abia to boost agriculture, trade, education, and human capital development.
“In more concrete terms, the project we wish to bring to your attention will be offering comprehensive understanding about the need to develop, not only economic ties but also the people-to-people exchange,” Yordanov said.
He further explained that the proposed partnership would come with a training support package in agricultural technology and skills.
“Abia State is widely known as a State where all the opportunities exist. This is why my country and private investors desire to collaborate and develop a partnership with Your Excellency,” the Ambassador explained.
In attendance at the meeting with the Governor were some members of the State Executive Council, among whom were the Deputy Governor, Engr Ikechukwu Emetu; Secretary to the State Government, Prof Kenneth Kalu; Commissioner for Trade, Commerce, and Industry, Dr. ChimezieUkaegbu; Commissioner for Agriculture, Prof Monica Ironkwe and Commissioner for Education, Prof Uche Eme-Uche.
There was also the Special Adviser to the Governor on Trade, Commerce, and Industry, Chief Nwaka Inem, and Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Dr. Cliff Agbaeze.
‘COP28: Stop The Wastes, Compete With China On Production, Obi Urges Nigeria
Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 election, has urged Nigeria to compete with China in terms of production rather than delegation size to a specialised meeting of experts.
Obi blasted the waste and inappropriate imitation of a country painstakingly pulling its people out of poverty in a series of tweets on his X handle on Sunday in response to the growing big number of Nigeria delegates to the United Nations, COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Reports from Dubai show that Nigeria equals China with 1411 contingents to the conference, the highest in the global event aside from the host UAE.
But in a satirical response to the size of Nigeria’s contingent Obi said “In a twist of sad irony, let me congratulate the giant of Africa, Nigeria, for matching the great China, with the same number of contingents at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Nigeria’s contingent to COP28 totaled 1411, the same number as the Chinese contingents.
The LP standard bearer noted that While China’s budget for 2024 is about $4 trillion, about $2,860 per head; Nigeria’s budget is about $33 billion, about $165 per head. China has a high Human Development Index, HDI, with a ranking of 79 out of 191 countries measured, and Nigeria has a low HDI, with a ranking of 163 out of 191 countries measured. Nigeria has more people living in ‘Multi-Dimensional’ poverty than China, despite China having seven times our population.
“Most importantly, the vast majority of those in the Nigerian delegation to COP28 are non-relevant civil servants or relations, friends, and hangers-on of high government officials. Most of them hardly understand or have anything to do with Climate Change.
“This huge contingent is at public expense and at a time when most Nigerians can hardly afford food and basic needs as a result of economic hardship. I pray earnestly that a day will come soon enough when we can focus on competing with China on productivity and the miracle of migrating the highest number of its citizens out of poverty over a relatively short time.
“As we have kept emphasising, we must stop waste as an addition to our government and nation. We urgently need to cut the cost of governance and invest in production.
Obi finally stated that “we need to de-emphasise unnecessary ceremony and showmanship as a mode of government behaviour.
“We need to tie spending to necessity and national Priority pointing out that a New Nigeria is possible but we only need to do the reasonable and the necessary.”