Nigeria’s Democracy is Maturing, 2023 Elections Taught Valuable Lessons – Buhari; Senate Advances Bill to Regulate and Establish Standards for Christian Practice | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Nigeria’s Democracy is Maturing, 2023 Elections Taught Valuable Lessons – Buhari
  • Aso Villa Renovation Commences in Preparation for Tinubu’s Inauguration
  • Senate Advances Bill to Regulate and Establish Standards for Christian Practice
  • Sonia Ekweremadu Opens Up About Organ Trafficking Scandal, Reveals Family’s History of Kidney Conditions
  • Ganduje Affirms Akpabio as the Presumptive Senate President

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

Nigeria’s Democracy is Maturing, 2023 Elections Taught Valuable Lessons – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded the peaceful and fair conduct of the 2023 general election in Nigeria, highlighting the significant turnout of voters and the overall peaceful atmosphere during the polls.

Speaking at the Commonwealth leaders summit in London, where he is attending the coronation of King Charles III as the monarch of the United Kingdom and leader of the Commonwealth, Buhari expressed his satisfaction with the electoral process.

In a statement released by Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesperson, President Buhari acknowledged the pockets of violence that occurred but emphasized that the successful and peaceful election demonstrated the maturing state of Nigeria’s democracy.

He stated, “Despite some pockets of violence, we have demonstrated that a government can be elected peacefully and fairly. Lessons have been learned, and moving forward, we hope to perform even better.”

Buhari further expressed his delight at the progress made in deepening Nigeria’s democracy through peaceful, transparent, and credible electoral outcomes. He acknowledged the existing challenges and reaffirmed the commitment to enhancing the participation of all Nigerians in the democratic process, including those in the diaspora.

As President Buhari approached his last official engagement with King Charles III and some Commonwealth leaders before leaving office on May 29, 2023, he expressed both humility and gratitude for this significant moment. He highlighted the collaborative efforts with Commonwealth leaders over the years to uphold the values and principles of the organization, aiming to strengthen its influence in the world and improve the lives of its citizens.

President Buhari concluded his address by reaffirming the commitment to continue working closely with Commonwealth members in pursuit of the organization’s shared aspirations and goals.

Quoting President Buhari’s statement, “These elections saw a remarkable turnout of voters and proof that Nigeria’s democracy is maturing. Despite some pockets of violence, we have demonstrated that a government can be elected peacefully and fairly.” He also mentioned, “Based on this, I am delighted to note that we have taken another step towards deepening our democracy with peaceful, transparent, and credible outcomes.”

Aso Villa Renovation Commences in Preparation for Tinubu’s Inauguration

Preparations are underway at the Presidential Villa in Abuja as part of the renovation and refurbishment efforts ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Bola Tinubu on May 29. The State House Management has initiated various improvements, including the application of fresh coats of white and green paint to the concrete perimeter fence surrounding the President’s office, official residence, Council Chamber, press gallery, and administrative offices.

Recent deliveries of new furniture to the green room adjoining the Council Chamber have also been observed. These renovations follow routine maintenance activities that took place earlier, such as upgrading card readers and installing barricades in certain areas that were once freeways.

A senior official from the State House, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that these maintenance works were part of the responsibilities assigned to the Presidential Transition Council, chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha. The council, which was inaugurated by the Federal Government on February 14, 2023, consists of members from various sectors, including Cabinet Affairs, General Service Affairs, Economic and Political Affairs, the Office of the SGF, State House permanent secretaries, and the National Security Adviser.

Regarding the renovations, the official explained, “The changes and upgrades we are doing are part of broader maintenance works. Some are routine, while others, like the painting, are done when the Villa is to host a new occupant. These follow the directives of the transition committee, which the SGF is in charge of.” The official further clarified that the replacement of card readers was a routine procedure when the old ones reached the end of their active life. Additionally, repainting was necessary due to stains from monkeys and droppings from bats that inhabit the State House.

While the exact amount allocated for the renovations was not disclosed, the official emphasized that the works were within the budget allocated to the State House, with any special costs being borne by the transition committee.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, shared a photo on Twitter, showing a painter at work on the external wall of the Villa. Shehu mentioned that the painting was being done to welcome the incoming President, symbolizing the preparations underway for Tinubu’s inauguration.

It is not uncommon for Presidential Villas to undergo renovation and refurbishment between administrations. When President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in June 2015, he could not immediately move into the Aso Rock Presidential Villa due to ongoing renovations. Similarly, his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, temporarily relocated to the Glass House within the Aso Presidential Villa to allow for renovations before Buhari’s swearing-in.

In August 2017, upon President Buhari’s return from a medical vacation abroad, his office had undergone renovation due to damage caused by rodents during his prolonged absence. The rodents had caused significant harm to furniture and air conditioning units, necessitating the refurbishment.

Senate Advances Bill to Regulate and Establish Standards for Christian Practice

A bill aimed at establishing a National Centre for Christian Education to regulate and set standards for the practice of Christianity in Nigeria has successfully passed the second reading in the Senate. The bill, sponsored by Senator Binos Yaroe representing Adamawa South Senatorial District, aims to address what Yaroe referred to as the “inappropriate practice” of religion in the country that has caused previous issues.

In his argument supporting the bill, Senator Istifanus Gyang from the Plateau North Senatorial District highlighted the negative consequences of improperly practiced religion, which has led to radicalism. Gyang emphasized that religion, when followed correctly, can serve as a source of strength and national unity. He further explained that the bill, once enacted, would facilitate the development of a curriculum for Christian education.

Senator Abba Moro also expressed his support for the bill, stating that it was timely considering the cases of exploitation involving radical religious figures preying on vulnerable young individuals. Moro pointed out that the misinterpretation of religious texts, such as the Quran and the Bible, contributed to some of the nation’s challenges.

During the debate, Senate President Ahmad Lawan presided over the proceedings and conducted a voice vote on the bill. The bill successfully passed the Second Reading and was subsequently referred to the Committee on Education for further legislative input.

Sonia Ekweremadu Opens Up About Organ Trafficking Scandal, Reveals Family’s History of Kidney Conditions

Sonia Ekweremadu, the daughter of former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, has revealed that her parents sought a kidney donor from outside the family due to their history of kidney conditions.

In an interview with the BBC following the sentencing of her father to nine years and eight months in prison for organ trafficking, Sonia explained that her family sought a non-family kidney donor for her because she carries a gene that necessitated finding a donor outside of their relatives.

Beatrice, Ekweremadu’s wife, was also sentenced to four years and six months in jail in connection with the organ trafficking case.

Read Also: Former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu Sentenced to Ten Years in UK Prison for Organ Harvesting

Sonia, who has been on dialysis, expressed her sadness and the difficulty in coming to terms with the situation. She disagreed with her parents’ conviction, stating her biased perspective as their daughter, but acknowledged that the law had taken its course.

She said, “As their daughter, I would obviously always back my parents. However, the law has taken its course, and we have to just move forward as a family.”

Regarding her own health condition, Sonia stated, “I had the APO1 gene. To us, that kind of excluded the family, especially on my dad’s side because they have quite a history of kidney conditions.”

When asked about the portrayal of the donor at the center of the case as her cousin, she responded, “Yea, I mean, I can’t answer that.” However, she expressed no ill feelings towards the donor and wished him the best.

Sonia expressed guilt for the challenges her family has faced and emphasized that life is unpredictable. She said, “Life is just so dynamic. One day you are in your house chilling, the next day, your whole life is turned upside down. I don’t think it would ever be the same. I feel guilty because I feel that all this has happened because of me.”

Although some individuals came forward as potential donors after the case became public, Sonia confirmed that she is still undergoing dialysis. However, she remains hopeful that she will be able to undergo the transplant procedure soon.

Ganduje Affirms Akpabio as the Presumptive Senate President

The outgoing Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, has officially endorsed the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, as the next Senate President of Nigeria.

Governor Ganduje made this announcement during a courtesy visit to his Cross River State counterpart, Prof. Ben Ayade, in Calabar on Thursday. The Kano governor, accompanied by the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Gambari, stated that the decision to nominate Akpabio as Senate President had already been finalized.

According to Governor Ganduje, the position of Senate President will be held by someone from the south-south region, specifically the former governor of Akwa Ibom State. He referred to Akpabio as an “uncommon governor” and an “uncommon minister” who is destined to become the “uncommon president of the senate.” However, he did not provide details regarding whether this decision was made by the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership.

Ganduje expressed his confidence in Akpabio’s ability to assume the role of Senate President and assured that they were eagerly awaiting the day when it would become a reality. His statement suggested that the endorsement of Akpabio as Senate President was a predetermined outcome.

Governor Ayade of Cross River State expressed gratitude for the decision to nominate Akpabio from the south-south region. He thanked Governor Ganduje for the opportunity and noted that this development aligns with their aspirations, particularly the realization of a Bakassi seaport.

While Godswill Akpabio and Orji Kalu, a former governor of Abia State, are considered front runners from the south for the position of Senate President, Ganduje’s endorsement has certainly given Akpabio a significant boost in his bid for the position.

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