Senate rejects notice of defection, Jonathan attends AU summit & other important news you should know today

by Oge Okonkwo


Jonathan arrives Addis Ababa for AU submit

Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan has arrived Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the 22nd Summit of AU Heads of State and Government, scheduled to hold January 30 and 31.

The President who arrived on Wednesday at 9.30 p.m Ethiopian time, (7.30 p.m. Nigerian time), was received at the Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, by the Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs,  Viola Onwuliri, the Ministers of Agriculture,  Akinwunmi Adesina and Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe.

Other important dignitaries who received him were Bello Adoke, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu and the Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mr Paul-Lolo Bulus.

Nigerian Eye reports:

Jonathan is expected to join other African leaders in various deliberations at the summit, with the theme “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture: Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth andSustainable Development.”

It would be recalled that the AU had declared 2014 as “The Year of Agriculture and Food Securityin Africa.”

President Jonathan and other participating heads of state and government would formally launch the Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa.

The leaders would also consider and adopt the reports of high-level committees on the Assessment of the African Standby Force.

They would consider the operations of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises.

The leaders were also expected to consider the reports of other high-level committees on UN Reforms, the post-2015 Development Agenda, African Trade and Climate Change.

President Jonathan is expected to return to Abuja on Friday.

Senate refuse to hear notice of defection by 11 senators 

The request by the former Governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki for the notice of defection of 11 PDP senators to the APC be read on the floor of the Senate has been deferred by the Senate.

According to report, Sen. Saraki raised a Point of Order under the Senate Standing Order 15, which stipulates that a matter of privilege shall be given urgent attention by the senate.

He said in Abuja that it was important for the letter to be read on the floor, so the Senate would be informed of their defection to the opposition.

Vanguard reports:

“A notice by a letter was communicated yesterday (Wednesday) to your Chair on notification of the change of political party by myself and 10 other senators from the platform of the PDP to the APC.

“So, I felt that it was necessary for me to bring to your attention that the letter has not yet been read,” Saraki said.

The Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekeremadu, who presided over the Thursday’s plenary, said the matter could not be discussed because the Senate President, Sen. David Mark was not in town.

Ekweremadu said that Mark told him that a meeting had been scheduled with the defecting senators for next Monday to discuss the matter.

He said that the matter should be left until the Senate president returned from his trip outside Abuja but this explanation did not go down well with Saraki.

Ekweremadu3 said, “the Senate president had travelled and before he travelled he told me you had a discussion with him and agreed to have a meeting on Monday.

“Unfortunately this is my own understanding of your dialogue with him and he is not here.

“So I believe that we would stand down any issue relating to that until he comes back,” Ekweremadu ruled.

The explanation led to an exchange of words as Saraki was insisting that the issue of the letter had nothing to do with Mark’s intention to meet with the senators.

Sen. Danjuma Goje also rose up to insist that the notification letter should be read because he and 10 other senators had defected from the PDP to APC.

This threw the chamber into confusion with PDP and APC senators engaging each other in a shouting match.

Goje said, “myself, and 10 others presented a letter to the senate president formally, informing him to inform the chamber that we have defected from the PDP to the APC.

“We thought the letter would have been read yesterday but it was not and we felt that it should be read today.

“I feel it is our right and privilege for that letter to be read. So, I demand that that letter be read.”

Ekweremadu, however, explained to Goje that a decision to defer the matter had already been taken because he (Ekweremadu) was not in possession of the letter.

Also speaking, the Senate Minority Leader Sen. George Akume (APC-Benue) argued that there was no reason to delay their request since a similar matter had taken place in the House of Representatives.

“Mr President, I speak on behalf of those of us who have sworn to protect the constitution of this country.

“This country has only one Constitution that guides the country. Therefore, what is constitutional in the House of Representatives cannot be unconstitutional in the senate,’’ Akume said.

Ekweremadu advised other senators to shelve the matter and continue debate on the 2014 Appropriation Bill.

Senate confirms new Service Chiefs

The  appointment of the new Chief of Defence Staff and the three service chiefs have been confirmed by the Senate after  considering the report of its joint committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force, which gave the military chiefs a clean bill of health.

The confirmation had come after a request was made in a letter to the Senate by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Service Chiefs includes; Messrs Air Marshal Alex Badeh as Chief of Defence Staff; Major General Kenneth Minimah as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin as Chief of Naval Staff and Air Vice Marshall Adesola Amosu as Chief of Air Staff.

Nigerian Eye reports:

The task of screening the military chiefs was committed to the joint committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force led by Senator George Sekibo, which concluded its assignment within one week.

The directive of the All Progressives Congress to its members in the National Assembly, asking them to block all legislative bills and approval of all Jonathan nominees, did not prevent the committee from going ahead with its task.

Majority of the senators within the PDP and the opposition APC supported the motion for the approval of the Magoro’s led committee and subsequently recommended the appointment of the new service chiefs and the CDS.

However, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator George Akume, clarified that the APC members in the upper chamber were not against the approval of the new service chiefs and the CDS.

Also, Senators Mohammed Saleh, Magoro, and James Manager, commended their colleagues for endorsing the appointment of the service chiefs who they described as accomplished professionals, eminently qualified for the positions.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, commended Jonathan for sending nominees for appointment as service chiefs to the National Assembly, in accordance to the constitution.

He also charged the top military officers to discharge their duties to the best of their ability.

Jumia Nigeria replaces African Managing Directors

Online retailer in Nigeria, Jumia,recently received another award as the best Online Retail Brand of the year at Brand Journalist Association of Nigeria.

Jumia also announced its new CEOs, Nicolas Martin and Jérémy Doutté who will be replacing the former Managing Directors, Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Afaedor.

It would be recalled that the former Managing Directors, Kehinde and Afaedor left Jumia Nigeria to  start up their own businesses.

Tekedia reports:

Jeremy Hodara, Co-CEO of Africa Internet Holding (AIH) – JUMIA’s holding company: “We are glad our hard work and growth over the years has paid off following our World Retail award as Best New Retail and now we are also recognized locally by the Brands Journalist Association of Nigeria. We only launched Jumia in Nigeria one and a half years ago and we are eager to share our success story.”

Chairman of the BJAN, Goddy Ofose stated “he has seen Jumia’s growth and how it has managed to keep a good perceived brand that customers, both offline and online, can recognize with. Even though Jumia still has a long way to go, this is just the beginning to building the brand we want in Nigeria.

Sacha Poignonnec, Co-CEO AIH: “JUMIA had a very successful 2013, from launching the leading e-commerce app in Africa to building our e-commerce campus in West Africa. We have to say a big thank you to everyone who has contributed to this. Especially to Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Afaedor, for their achievements with JUMIA Nigeria. They’ve made a great impact on our development and we wish them all the best”

Raphael Afaedor and Tunde Kehinde were also a part of the Co-Founders team, which set up JUMIA together with the AIH in 2012. Last year, JUMIA was the first Africancompany to win a World Retail Award as “The Best New Retail Launch of the Year”. Further to this, MTN and Millicom announced its investments into AIH.

Raphael Afeador, former Managing Director of JUMIA: “JUMIA was an exciting one and a half year journey for us. We are extremely proud of JUMIA and wish all the best to thecompany and all the people here. E-commerce in Nigeria is growing very fast and is an exciting industry to be involved in.”

Bidding farewell to the JUMIA team, Tunde Kehinde, former Managing Director of JUMIA: “As we move on to start our own businesses, we owe a lot to every member of the team, together we made history, together we have built Nigeria’s first and biggest online retailer; a fate we never would have achieved without you. Let us urge you to continue to hold the values of looking after and satisfying every customer, supplier, and the people around you. There is no doubt we are building a great team of entrepreneurs that will leave a huge mark on this nation’s history”.

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