Bill mandating 5-year medical work before licensing in Nigeria passes second reading; Chimamanda criticizes UK and US for congratulating Tinubu | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Bill mandating 5-year medical work before licensing in Nigeria passes second reading
  • Chimamanda criticizes UK and US for congratulating Tinubu
  • Military condemns interim government, says it’s unconstitutional
  • Faction invades LP national secretariat deepening crisis
  • Buhari: 2023 elections proved Nigerian voters cannot be underestimated

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss:

Bill mandating 5-year medical work before licensing in Nigeria passes second reading

The Nigerian House of Representatives has passed a bill on its second reading which seeks to prevent medical and dental practitioners from being granted full licenses until they have worked for a minimum of five years in the country. The bill is titled ‘the Bill for an Act to Amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act 2004’ and aims to address the exodus of doctors from Nigeria to other countries in search of better opportunities, while also improving the quality of healthcare services within Nigeria.

The bill’s sponsor, Ganiyu Abiodun Johnson, argued that it was only reasonable for medical practitioners, who had received subsidies on their training from taxpayers, to “give back to the society” by working for a minimum number of years in Nigeria before exporting their skills abroad. Johnson’s position was supported by several lawmakers, who believe the bill will curb the exodus of healthcare professionals and improve healthcare in Nigeria.

However, some lawmakers called for flexibility and options in the proposed law. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, for instance, argued that the five-year restriction was tantamount to enslavement, and suggested that the law should allow doctors to work abroad after serving for a few years in Nigeria.

Despite these concerns, the bill passed for a second reading during a plenary presided over by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila. Speaking on the development, Johnson said, “I thank my colleagues for supporting this bill. It is a step in the right direction towards enhancing our healthcare system and curbing the brain drain in the medical sector.”

Chimamanda criticizes UK and US for congratulating Tinubu

Award-winning Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie, has criticized British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and United States President Joe Biden for congratulating Nigerian President-elect Bola Tinubu. In an open letter titled ‘Nigeria’s Hollow Democracy’ published on The Atlantic on Thursday, Adichie accused both leaders of prioritizing stability over democracy in Africa.

Adichie expressed her disappointment in the U.S. State Department’s congratulatory message to Tinubu, stating that it ignores the irregularities and manipulation that occurred during the election.

She said, “The process was imperiled not by technical shortcomings but by deliberate manipulation…Why would the United States, which prioritizes the rule of law, endorse a president-elect who has emerged from an unlawful process?”

Adichie further questioned whether the U.S. and UK’s decisions were influenced by their foreign policy priorities, particularly in relation to China.

She said, “The battle for influence in Africa will not be won by supporting the same undemocratic processes for which China is criticized.”

Adichie also highlighted the importance of democracy in Nigeria and urged the U.S. and UK to support democracy, not just stability.

“Has the United States once again decided that what matters in Africa is not democracy but stability? Or is it about that ever-effulgent nemesis China, as so much of U.S. foreign policy now invariably seems to be?” she said.

Adichie’s open letter to Biden has sparked conversations about the role of foreign powers in Africa’s democratic processes, and the need for African nations to have transparent, free, and fair elections. As she concluded, “The people of Nigeria deserve better than hollow democracy, and the global community for democracy deserves better than leaders who prioritize stability over democracy.”

Military condemns interim government, says it’s unconstitutional 

In recent days, there have been calls for an interim government in Nigeria, but the Defence Headquarters has spoken out against these calls, describing them as “unfortunate” and “unconstitutional.” Major

General Musa Danmadami, the Director of Defence Media Operations, made these remarks during a recent press briefing in Abuja, where he addressed journalists on military operations across the country.

Danmadami argued that the call for an interim government was not only unconstitutional but also mischievous.

He said, “An election has been conducted, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that is mandated has announced a president-elect. It is not our responsibility to speak on that issue, but I know that several calls have been made from the Presidency that there is nothing like an interim national government.”

He emphasized that the constitution of Nigeria did not provide for an interim national government, and any attempt to establish one would be unconstitutional. He also called on the public to support the military in maintaining peace and security in the country.

Danmadami noted that the Operation Safe Conduct, which supported the police and INEC during the elections, was successful. He added that the military was also prepared to provide similar support during the remaining elections in two states where elections were declared inconclusive. “

We will continue to carry out our responsibility to the best of our ability while calling on the civil populace to support us,” he said.

The call for an interim government in Nigeria has been a contentious issue in recent times, with some individuals and groups advocating for it as a way of addressing the country’s political and security challenges. However, the Defence Headquarters’ statement makes it clear that such a move would be unconstitutional and therefore not an option.

Faction invades LP national secretariat deepening crisis

The internal wrangling within the Labour Party has taken a turn for the worse, following the invasion of the national secretariat by a faction of the party.

A group of party loyalists aided by regular policemen, stormed the party’s national secretariat located at Utako, yesterday to take control of the structure.

When the dust settled, seven members of the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, announced the appointment of the National Vice Chairman (South), Lamidi Bashir Apapa, as Acting National Chairman.

In his maiden address, Apapa said his appointment was part of the outcome of an emergency meeting of the NWC, which was a sequel to the judgment of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court.

The court, he said, restrained Julius Abure from parading himself as national chairman of the party.

Recall that apart from Abure, the court also restrained three other officers of the party over alleged forgery.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Hamza Muazu, also ordered that the originating processes of the court be served on the restrained officials – Abure, the National Secretary, Umar Farouk Ibrahim; the National Treasurer, Oluchi Opara; and the National Organising Secretary, Clement Ojukwu.

The judge held that the ex parte application for an interim injunction restraining the four officials by aggrieved members of the LP before the court had merit and granted the same.

Speaking further, Apapa announced that the NWC equally reviewed the suspension of party members and executives that was earlier suspended by the Abure-led leadership.

The three other officials restrained by the court were also replaced by Alhaji Saleh Lawal- acting national secretary, Rowland Daramola- acting treasurer, and Prince Reuben Favour – acting organizing secretary.

Apapa said further: “The NWC equally reviewed that recently there are some cases of suspensions that were badly handled. And this National Working Committee meeting has reviewed them, and the suspension all over are hereby reviewed and the officers are reinstated.

“With effect from now, the so-called officers who the court had barred should not parade themselves as officers of the party until cases against them are treated or handled by the party.”

In a related development, The Nigeria Labour Congress, an affiliate of the Labour Party has said the sacking of the National Chairman, the National Secretary, National Treasurer, and the Publicity Secretary of the Party, Messrs Julius Abure, Alhaji Farouk Ibrahim, Clement Ojukwu and Opara, respectively, by the High Court in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, is an attempt to decapitate the leadership of the party and weaken it.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Joseph Ajaero, in a statement in Abuja, on Thursday, said the sacking of the executives of the party was greatly suspicious.

He added that it cannot be far from the intent to weaken the party from within or distract it from its fight to reclaim its stolen mandate at the polls.

The NLC in its statement said the allegations on which the Judge based his ruling on the application were unfounded, unproven and highly speculative, and malicious.

He said the allegations of corruption, perjury, and forgery were leveled against them by elements whose interest in the party could best be described as doubtful or dubious.

He stated that the ruling was sequel to a motion exparte filed along the substantive suit by eight so-called aggrieved members of the party including the Chairman of the party in Abure’s ward.

Buhari: 2023 elections proved Nigerian voters cannot be underestimated

President Muhammadu Buhari says the 2023 elections have demystified money politics which means Nigerian voters won’t be underrated anymore.

He said this on Thursday when he received the newly-installed Emir of Dutse, Jigawa State Capital Muhammad Hamim Nuhu Sunusi at the State House in Abuja.

According to him, the failure of 10 governors in their senatorial quest is a testament that power truly belongs to the voters.

“It is a testament to the maturity of our democracy and to the amazing sophistication of the voter,” a statement from presidential aide Garba Shehu quoted the President as saying.

“What shocked me was that the ordinary citizen who is usually underrated has made the point of his political understanding of things. The assumption is always that you are Governor for eight years and you go to the Senate to crown the career. No one should underrate the Nigerian voter anymore. Politics will be more difficult, henceforth.”

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