…Says Buhari Erred Signing Bill In London
By Augustine Akhilomen
Rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana SAN has revealed that some forces within the nation’s political landscape are preparing the grounds to launch a third term campaign ahead of the 2023 Presidential race.
Speaking as a guest speaker at the presentation of Testimony To Courage, a book in honour of the Editor in Chief Premium Times, Dapo Olorunyomi, said those behind the moves have activated the process by a deliberate attempt to oppress the media and whittle their influence and other perceived obstacles.
Falana said, “Let me say this, our country has gone to the dogs and the media must help, you have to help and that is why the war is against the media because for the 2023 race, the media must be silenced, we may have a third term campaign very soon.
“Very soon they are going to destroy all possible opponents and they have started. So by the time they bring the third term agenda, the media would have been gone, but we are not going to allow it.”
Adding his voice to the debate on the legality or otherwise of President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to sign the Amended Deep Offshore Act into law in the United Kingdom, Falana described it as absurd and illegal, citing example of a Supreme Court ruling that upturned the impeachment of former Oyo State Governor, Rasheed Ladoja by the House of Assembly.
“I have said it publicly; no dictator can deceive the Nigerian people. No serious President apart from a banana republic would go to a private house in any country and sign a law. The bill has to be signed into law in the office of the President of a country. I am sure even this cantankerous man in America, when he wants to sign a bill, Trump, is a very serious business in the White House.
“There is a precedent. Ladoja was impeached in a hotel in Ibadan, New Rover Hotel and the Supreme Court made the point abundantly clear, any proceedings of a House of Assembly that took place in a hotel are illegal because the place for making laws is the Chambers of the House of Assembly. They tried to deceive us by saying that the bill was signed in the Nigeria House in the UK, no, it was signed in a private house, an undisclosed house in the United Kingdom where the photograph was taken,” he said.
He also lampooned the comments made by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole that President Buhari can rule from anywhere, adding that such statement can set the nation on a path of confusion and political instability.
Falana explained, “That one has put Nigeria in trouble. You know under Yar Adua they said it, the 2010 budget was forged. We were told in Nigeria that they were taking the bill to Saudi Arabia and that time President Yar Adua was in a state of coma, so they forged the budget. The other one they forged has put Nigeria in trouble, the Petroleum and Industry Bill, because the President was nowhere to be found, that matter could not be taken to the Federal Executive Council. So, if they now say the President can rule from anywhere, you can be very sure many things are going to happen very soon.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also cited the cold war brewing between the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Office of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, noting that the Federal Government was inadvertently setting landmines for itself.
“The President sent names of members of the NDDC board, Ogaga Efowodo, his name was not there. The President sent the names, the Senate confirmed the names two days ago, but before the confirmation, the Chief of Staff wrote a letter to Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs on behalf of the President, to take over that Board. Akpabio has set up a panel. The Senate is saying, we have screened you, go and take over, expect a battle very soon there,” he said.
He commended the Editor In Chief of Premium Times, Dapo Olorunyomi, for always standing for the truth and integrity over the years, just as he urged the media not to relent in holding government at all levels accountable and maintain their toga as the watchdog of the society.