2023: Saraki, Atiku, Tambuwal, others meet in Abuja

Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, alongside Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Governor of Bauchi, Sen. Bala Mohammed and former MD, FSB International Bank, Mohammed Hayatuddeen, last night met with former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

All five PDP presidential aspirants met to discuss the ongoing unity and consensus-building initiative being championed by Saraki, Tambuwal and Bala.

Details later.…

Electoral Act: Saraki begs National Assembly on Direct Primaries

Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has sent a passionate appeal to members of the National Assembly who are in the process of reconciling the different versions of the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill passed by both chambers to save the country the crisis and trouble that will result from the proposal to make direct primaries compulsory for parties in sourcing candidates for elections.

Saraki spoke in a statement signed by Yusuph Olaniyonu, Head of his Media Office, and made available on Sunday.

He noted that the decision to include a provision in the proposed Electoral Act, which makes it compulsory for parties to adopt direct primaries, will only create a fresh problem while trying to solve another.

He added that many of the political parties lack the necessary infrastructure to successfully conduct direct primaries at all levels, while the attempt will lead to hundreds of litigations that may jeopardize the general election. He said: “I feel compelled to once again appeal to Distinguished Senators and Honorable Members of the House of Representatives on the proposed Electoral Act because I realize that while the focus of the general public has been on how to get the electronic transmission of results into the proposed law, another potential problem that may clog our electoral process is included in the Electoral Act is this provision on direct primaries.

“The two options on the table are to make direct primaries compulsory for all the parties or to leave it open for parties to decide. We should take the latter option. Let us leave each party to decide how it wants to source its candidates. The experience we have in the past shows that direct primary will lead to a crisis if forced on the parties. We saw how people sent from the national headquarters to conduct primary elections stayed in hotel rooms and conjured up figures which were announced as the result of direct primary elections.

“Even if the big parties have the funds and facilities to organize direct primaries nationwide, how about the …

NASS urges transport ministry to regulate fares during Sallah

The National Assembly (NASS) has urged the Ministry of Transportation to evolve strategies to check arbitrary hikes in transportation fares during the festive period.

Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr Eric Orjiekwe, the Director Press and Public Relations of the ministry on Friday.

Saraki made the remark during a meeting with stakeholders in the road transport sector in Abuja.

She said the meeting was at the instance of the House of Representatives, following deliberations on the arbitrary increase in transport fares during festive periods, particularly for land transport.

Saraki, who was represented by the Director, Road Transport and Mass Transit Administration of the ministry, Mary Ejembi, said an in-depth look at reasons for fare hikes which cause the citizens pain and affect the economy adversely was the thrust of the meeting. Ejembi said the lawmakers were concerned that well-meaning Nigerians were already viewing the situation as a gross exhibition of greed and a monumental corruption on the part of transporters who capitalize on high commuter traffic to exploit the people.

She said: “The stakeholders, after due deliberations, called on the federal government to prioritize road construction and maintenance to reduce damage to vehicles.

“They called on the government to reduce park duties while also enacting traffic laws backed up with technology.

“They also advised that the activities of unions be monitored and regulated to reduce the hardship on passengers.

“They equally suggested that road transport unions should be compelled to organize periodic training for drivers to curb incessant road mishaps.”

Earlier, the National President, Driving School Association of Nigeria (DSAN), Mr Jide Owatunmise, in his remarks disclosed that “recovery factor” was one of the elements responsible for the hike in fares during festive periods.

Owatunmise said this was because road operators see festive periods as an opportunity to recover lost grounds during off-festive seasons.

The Deputy National Secretary-General, Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr Henry Ugwu, said double taxation from bodies and establishments like the state governments and …