The Late 5: Senate explains non-reduction of ages for Senators and Governors, PDP condemns Buhari’s statement on youth and 2019 and other stories

These are the stories that drove the conversation today:

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, on Friday explained that the 35 years age qualification for the Senate was retained to correct the initial disparity in the 1999 Constitution between the age qualification for the Senate and that of the President.

According to a statement by Uche Anichukwu,the Special Adviser (Media) to the Deputy Senate President, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Ekweremadu said that the National Assembly reasoned that going by the provisions of Section 146 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the President of the Senate could hold the office of the President for a period not exceeding three months should the offices of the President and Vice President be vacant at the same time for any reason.

So, since the President of the Senate, a Senator, could become an Acting President by happenstance, it is only right that the qualification for both offices are the same.”

On the non-reduction of the age qualification for the office of the Governor, he explained that the majority opinion was that 35 years should be ideal for now to enable the would-be governors acquire the requisite experience to pilot the affairs of a State.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted the statement  by President Muhammadu Buhari, that Nigerian youth should not contest the Presidency in the 2019 general elections.

In a statement signed by the party’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP described it as “totally unpresidential, unlawful, discriminatory and further showcases the disdain with which Mr. President holds the youth, who he had earlier described, without apologies, as lazy and lovers of freebies.”

“We want Nigerians, particularly, the youth, to note that President Buhari’s position reflects the policy of his dysfunctional All Progressives Congress (APC), not to allow our youth the opportunity to aspire to top levels,” he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari expresses fear that he may not match what he called the incredible resources at the disposal of the opposition, despite his incumbency power.

Speaking at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday while receiving the Buhari Media Organisation, he stated that the opposition was sponsoring mischief from different angles, against his government which could not be absolutely stopped.

“I don’t think I can thank you enough for your steadfastness under very difficult circumstances. It is not easy to defend this administration and more in particular, to defend me. But your consistency has given me a lot of confidence,” he added.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has condemned the extension of the September dateline for the implementation of a new minimum wage.

Speaking in Abuja on the development, NLC President Ayuba Wabba said: “Nigerian workers were shocked by statements credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment; Dr Chris Ngige,” maintaining that it was “not only provocative; but also insensitive especially in the face of the excruciating suffering being endured by Nigerian workers particularly as occasioned by the increase in the cost of living.”

“The minister’s stance is also at variance with the declaration made by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo when he represented Mr. President at this year’s May Day celebrations,” he added.

Zamfara Police Command says it has averted an attempt by unknown gunmen to attack Dokolo village in Tsafe Local Government Area of the state on Thursday.

The command’s Deputy Commissioner of Police, Administration, Bukar Biu, said at a press briefing on Friday in Gusau that the police responded to a distress call from the area that armed bandits on motorcycles attempted to invade the village, and while others retreated back to the forest with possible bullet wounds, one of the attackers was killed in the encounter.

He added that security has been beefed up within the area to forestall any violence or reprisal attack.

And stories from around the world:

Spanish socialist Pedro Sanchez was catapulted to power on Friday, taking over as prime minister from veteran conservative Mariano Rajoy, who lost a no-confidence vote in the wake of a corruption scandal.

Lawmakers stood and cheered in parliament as the untested 46-year-old – a pro-European lawmaker who has never been in government – became the country’s seventh head of government since its return to democracy in the late 1970s.

Sanchez (46), who became prime minister with only 84 seats for his Socialists in the 350-member assembly thanks to support from the hard-left Podemos and smaller nationalist parties, said he intends to steer the country through to mid-2020 when the parliamentary term ends.

Italy’s new populist government has been sworn in to power after the president, Sergio Mattarella, agreed to a revised slate of ministers – just days after a bitter row over the incoming leaders’ stance on the euro ended their initial bid to assume power.

Giuseppe Conte(53) was sworn in as prime minister on Friday after a last-ditch coalition deal ended months of political deadlock and narrowly avoided snap elections in the eurozone’s third largest economy.

The United States is preparing to open a new de facto embassy in Taiwan, with speculation over who will represent Washington at the ceremony almost certain to enrage China.

The renovated American Institute in Taiwan will open on 12 June, and is likely to be overshadowed by a possible summit between Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. But the potential for senior US officials, possibly at the cabinet level, attending the ceremony for the $250m facility has raised eyebrows in Beijing.

The new compound represents a significant upgrade in US relations with Taiwan, and the opening ceremony comes at a time when Beijing has taken an increasingly hostile stance toward the democratic self-ruled island of 23 million people.

Venezuela said on Friday it has begun freeing groups of opposition activists who were jailed for their involvement in protests against leftist President Nicolas Maduro.

A group of opposition activists including former mayor Daniel Ceballos were present at a televised meeting called by the Constituent Assembly, an all-powerful legislature made up of ruling Socialist Party loyalists.

Saudi Arabia has threatened military action against its Gulf neighbour, Qatar if it acquires the Russian-made S-400 aerial defence system, French daily Le Monde reported on Friday.

In a letter addressed to President Emmanuel Macron of France, Saudi King Salman expressed his “profound concern” with talks under way between Moscow and Doha for the sale of the advanced anti-aircraft weapon system.

The Saudi monarch, who asked that France increase its pressure on Qatar, said he was worried about the consequences of Doha’s acquisition of the mobile surface-to-air missile system which he said threatened Saudi security interests.

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