Federal Lawmakers Prepare to Elect Presiding Officers of 10th National Assembly; President Tinubu Grants Assent to Student Loan Bill | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Federal Lawmakers Prepare to Elect Presiding Officers of 10th National Assembly
  • President Tinubu Grants Assent to Student Loan Bill
  • Vice President Shettima Clarifies Controversial Remarks on Leadership Competence
  • Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa Accuses Wife of Judicial Favoritism in Senate
  • Parents of Chibok Schoolgirls Plead with President Tinubu for Release of Remaining Abducted Students

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

Federal Lawmakers Prepare to Elect Presiding Officers of 10th National Assembly

In what promises to be a crucial and highly anticipated event, the 10th National Assembly of Nigeria is set to inaugurate its presiding officers today. A total of 469 federal lawmakers will convene to make this historic decision, a moment that could shape the course of the nation’s legislative agenda.

In accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has issued a proclamation letter, signaling the formal inauguration of the 10th National Assembly. This important step sets the stage for the selection of key figures who will lead the legislative affairs in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Senate, consisting of 109 senators, will be tasked with electing the Senate President and Deputy Senate President, while the House of Representatives, comprising 360 members, will vote for the House Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

The run-up to this significant event has witnessed an intense race for the Senate presidency and speaker’s seat, with major contenders ramping up their campaigns in the days leading up to the inauguration. The political landscape has been charged with anticipation, as politicians strategically position themselves to secure vital endorsements and rally support from their colleagues.

Two prominent contenders have emerged in the race for the Senate Presidency. Senator Godswill Akpabio, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, and Senator Abdulaziz Yari, the former governor of Zamfara State, are both vying for this prestigious position. With their wealth of experience and political acumen, these candidates have garnered significant attention and support from their respective constituencies.

President Tinubu and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have thrown their weight behind Akpabio, endorsing him as their preferred candidate for Senate President. Additionally, Senator Jibrin Barau from Kano North has been selected as the party’s choice for the position of Deputy Senate President.

In a surprising turn of events, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu from Abia State, initially a contender for the Senate Presidency, has withdrawn from the race. Instead, he has formed an alliance with Yari, as they now join forces in the pursuit of the deputy Senate presidency. This unexpected collaboration has added another layer of intrigue to an already fiercely competitive atmosphere.

Both the Akpabio and Yari camps are claiming to have secured the backing of a significant majority of senators, heightening the tension and anticipation surrounding the Senate presidency election. The outcome of this closely watched contest will undoubtedly shape the dynamics and power balance within the Senate, with far-reaching implications for the nation’s legislative agenda.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, the spotlight is on the race for the position of Speaker. Tajudeen Abbas, the preferred candidate of the APC, and Ahmed Wase, the immediate former Deputy Speaker, are emerging as the frontrunners in this high-stakes battle. With their respective strengths and political affiliations, Abbas and Wase are garnering support from key stakeholders within the party.

However, they face formidable competition from other contenders who are vying for the speakership. Aminu Sani Jaji from Zamfara State, Sada Soli Jibia from Katsina, and Miriam Onuoha from Anambra are all still in the race, injecting further excitement and unpredictability into the proceedings.

As the nation eagerly awaits the outcome of these elections, the 10th National Assembly stands at a critical juncture. The individuals elected to preside over its affairs will hold significant sway in shaping legislative policies and decisions that will impact the lives of Nigerians across the country.

President Tinubu Grants Assent to Student Loan Bill

In a significant move aimed at providing crucial financial support to Nigerian students pursuing tertiary education, President Bola Tinubu has signed the student loan bill into law. The signing ceremony took place on Monday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, marking a pivotal moment in the country’s commitment to investing in the education sector.

The legislation, which had passed its third reading in the lower chamber of the National Assembly in May, was championed by Femi Gbajabiamila, the immediate-past speaker of the House of Representatives. Its objective is to establish a framework that enables Nigerian students in tertiary institutions to access interest-free loans from the Nigerian education loan fund.

Dele Alake, a former Lagos commissioner of information and strategy, officially announced the signing of the bill to state house correspondents, emphasizing the government’s dedication to supporting students in their pursuit of higher education. This milestone development underscores the government’s recognition of the importance of investing in the nation’s human capital and promoting access to quality education for all.

The legislation also encompasses the establishment of the Nigerian education bank, a vital institution entrusted with the responsibility of administering, supervising, coordinating, and monitoring the management of student loans across the country. The bank will play a pivotal role in receiving loan applications from eligible students through higher institutions, effectively screening and assessing the applicants based on the criteria specified in the law.

Vice President Shettima Clarifies Controversial Remarks on Leadership Competence

Vice President Kashim Shettima has addressed the misconceptions and misinterpretations surrounding his recent remarks, stating that the public has drawn “wrong and dangerous inferences” from his words. He sought to distance himself from any suggestion that he was questioning the leadership competence of Muslims, emphasizing the need to understand the context in which his comments were made.

The alleged remarks were attributed to the vice president during an interaction with senators in Abuja who were advocating for the emergence of Senator Godswill Akpabio and Senator Barau Jibrin for leadership positions. Shettima clarified that his comments were deliberately taken out of context and circulated in a manner that undermines the suitability of Muslim candidates in the race for Senate leadership.

Shettima stressed that his intention was to highlight the current political structure of the nation and advocate for a fair balance that promotes inclusivity at the center of power. He explained that he was in agreement with the All Progressives Congress (APC) commitment to ensuring inclusivity across all regions and groups. His remarks were driven by a deep awareness of the divisive factors within the country and a genuine desire to foster unity.

In a statement released via his verified Twitter handle and attributed to Olusola Abiola, Director of Information Office of the Vice President, Shettima emphasized the importance of inclusivity to prevent any hidden agenda aimed at undermining the new government and the nation as a whole. He expressed concern over the media’s role in weaponizing his remarks and appealed for a fair understanding of his intentions.

Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa Accuses Wife of Judicial Favoritism in Senate

In a surprising revelation during the Senate valedictory session, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa of Bauchi North accused his wife, Zainab Bulkachuwa, a former President of the Court of Appeal, of using her position as a judge to favor his colleagues in the Senate. Zainab Bulkachuwa, who made history as the first female president of the Court of Appeal, had presided over significant cases such as the 2007 Sokoto State governorship election petition tribunal and the lawsuit in which Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa, challenged the nomination of Seriake Dickson as the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

During his speech at the Senate valedictory session, Senator Bulkachuwa admitted to influencing his wife’s decisions while she held her judicial position, claiming that she had been tolerant of his encroachment and had extended assistance to his colleagues. However, his comments were quickly interrupted by the outgoing Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who expressed his disagreement with the direction the discussion was taking.

The revelation adds a new layer of complexity to the dynamics within the Senate and raises questions about the influence exerted by individuals in positions of power. It also highlights the need for transparency and accountability in the judiciary to uphold the integrity of the legal system.

Parents of Chibok Schoolgirls Plead with President Tinubu for Release of Remaining Abducted Students

Parents of the Chibok schoolgirls who are still held captive have made an emotional appeal to President Bola Tinubu, urging him to facilitate the release of the remaining 92 abducted students. The tragic incident occurred on April 14, 2014, when 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists from Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.

Over the years, some of the girls managed to escape, and others have been rescued, but 92 of them are still in captivity, enduring unimaginable hardship and abuse at the hands of their captors. Yana Galang and Zanna Lawan, parents of Rifkatu Galang and Aisha Lawan, penned a heartfelt letter to President Tinubu, expressing their sorrow and pleading for an end to their agonizing ordeal.

In their letter, the parents congratulated President Tinubu and Kashim Shettima on assuming the offices of president and vice president, respectively. They highlighted the pain and agony they have endured for the past nine years and expressed their disappointment that a significant number of girls remain in captivity, despite the passing of time and the efforts made by the previous administration.

The parents implored President Tinubu to be the beacon of hope that would bring an end to their suffering, wipe away their tears, and liberate them from the shackles of sadness and anguish. They acknowledged the opportunity for change that comes with the transition of power within the same political party, emphasizing that achieving the release of the remaining girls would be a remarkable accomplishment for the president, his government, and the party.

With a somber tone, the parents revealed their reluctance to hold further commemorations of the abduction, expressing their earnest desire for a resolution to their anguish. They placed their hope in President Tinubu’s leadership and pleaded for his intervention to bring about their long-awaited relief and reunite them with their beloved daughters.

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