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Restructure Nigeria Before 2023 Elections, Jega Tells FG

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Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has asked the Federal Government to work towards the restructuring of the country before the 2023 general elections in order to address some challenges confronting the nation.

Jega who stated this while delivering the 2021 Public Lecture at the Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State, with the title “Towards stabilizing the Nigeria federation” stressed the need for the country to embark on short-term restructuring before the general election in 2023.

The former INEC boss noted that the executive and legislative arms have foot-dragging in making the restructuring of the country, urging them to do everything within the ambits of the law to restructure the country.

According to him, there seems to be a lack of political will on the part of those who are at the helm of affairs in the nation’s executive and legislative arms of government, saying the executive seems to have taken a back seat believing that restructuring is purely a legislative matter.

He said, “In the present circumstances, as necessary and desirable as restructuring is, a number of challenges would have to be overcome to successfully bring it about.

“First, passion has been inflamed and allowed to circumscribe the discourses of restructuring, resulting in the emergence of hardened antagonistic positions, which if allowed to persist, would make reconciliation and consensus-building very difficult indeed, if not impossible.

“The perceptions of exclusion, marginalisation, and exploitation are so deep-seated that they nurture and deepen divisions, polarisation, and illogical if not irrational agitations by extremist groups.

“In the circumstances, conversation, debate, and dialogue are, if at all, conducted at cross purposes, obstructive of accommodation of differing opinions and the pursuit of a rational and logical process of consensus-building and bringing about the desirable restructuring of the Nigerian federation.

“Second, in the governance sphere, at both the federal executive and legislative levels, the political will and competence seem lacking for the pursuit of credible and popularly acceptable procedures and processes of bringing about
appropriate and desirable restructuring.

“The executive seems to take a back seat in the belief that restructuring is purely a legislative matter, into which it should not dabble, thereby failing to provide the requisite, proactive leadership for driving the agenda and process of restructuring.


“On its part, the legislature seems to take an overly legalistic posture, impatient with, and indifferent to calls for transparent, inclusive, and people-oriented strategies for achieving popularly acceptable restructuring.

“A broadly participatory, inclusive, and responsive process would lend greater legitimacy to the end product of any restructuring and constitutional amendment processes. Regrettably, members of the National Assembly have failed to recognize the desirability of doing this.

“Third, rather than prioritising restructuring and focusing on addressing the key discernible challenges to power-sharing and resources distribution/allocation amongst the subnational, federating units, the legislature pursues a comprehensive/wholesale constitutional amendment process, with many contentious issues taken onboard simultaneously. This makes the process time-consuming, overly contentious and controversial, and susceptible to filibuster, and likely derailment of the entire undertaking.

“Fourth, leaving the very important business of restructuring until very close to the next general elections has its own challenges, given that Nigerian politicians tend to shy away from taking tough decisions in the national interest, especial on seemingly controversial issues, too close to general elections.”

He, however, expressed optimism that restructuring could be achieved if the stakeholders could do the needful, advocating a short-term restructuring before the 2023 general election.

Jega said “In spite of the challenges, the prospects of restructuring are not as hopeless as some would assume them to be. Nigeria needs stability and increased legitimacy for elected officials in governance; needs good governance, better nurtured and deepened democratic development; and needs economic growth and socio-economic development.

“For all these, better management of ethnoreligious diversity on the basis of rule of law, justice, equity and equality of opportunity, is a necessary precondition. That is what a federal arrangement is meant to ensure, but it is not, if truth is to be told, what the current federal structure and practice of federalism in Nigeria provide. Rather, it ensures an asymmetrical and unequal distribution of power and allocation of resources between the national government and the subnational units, the states.

“Therefore, some form of restructuring in the short-term, before the next general elections in 2023 to reverse the trend and reposition Nigeria as a viable and effective federation, is necessary. One can say without any fear of contradiction that there is at least an elite consensus on the fact that the current Nigerian federal arrangement isn’t optimally working; that indeed it is dysfunctional and needs improvement.

“Where consensus seems lacking is on the nature and extent of restructuring to be undertaken before the next general elections in 2023. If only our elected leaders would try harder, with courage and strong political will, consensus can and should emerge on the thorny issues about the nature and extent of restructuring.

“It may be difficult but it would not be impossible to commence, and achieve some form of desirable restructuring of
the Nigerian federation before the 2023 general elections,” the guest lecturer noted.

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Israel Adesanya Beats Jared Cannonier To Retain UFC Middleweight Title

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Israel Adesanya defeated Jarred Cannonier via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45) to retain the UFC middleweight championship.

Adesanya fought against middleweight contender Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 at the T-mobile Arena, Las Vegas Sunday morning.

Since making his debut in 2018, ‘The Last Stylebender’ has looked better each time he’s stepped into the Octagon and is still undefeated in the middleweight. He first captured the interim title in the Fight of The Year winner against Kelvin Gastelum in 2019.

‘Izzy’ then defeated Robert Whittaker and unified the titles that same year.

He has successfully defended his title four times since then. On an otherwise perfect record for Adesanya (22-1), his only loss was during his unsuccessful step up to light heavyweight, losing to then-champion Jan Blachowicz.

On Sunday, the Nigerian-born New Zealander successfully defended his middleweight title for the fifth time.

While Adesanya defeated Robert Whittaker in February for the second time to retain his middleweight strap, Cannonier knocked out Derek Brunson in the second round in February to become the weight’s No.1contender.

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Ekiti Election: INEC Calls For Speedy Prosecution Of Arrested ‘Vote-Buyers’

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday called for the quick prosecution of all those arrested for vote-buying during the Ekiti State governorship election.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the call during a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Committee on Election Security in Abuja.

He said he was satisfied with the conduct of security agencies during the election, and that the speedy prosecution of culprits of vote-buying will serve as a deterrent for others.

“Vote busying remains a major area of concern. We appreciate the role played by anti-corruption and security agencies,” he said.

“We are working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ensure the prosecution of persons arrested in the Ekiti governorship election.”

The INEC Chairman also highlighted the commission’s activities lined up for the forthcoming Osun State scheduled for July 16.

According to him, INEC is committed to the conduct of pre-election activities to perfect the Osun polls.

“The Commission is deploying a readiness assessment team to Osun State next week to assess our preparations. We will visit some of our local government offices in the state, hold meetings with our staff, we will also observe the mock accreditation of voters in some polling units across the three senatorial districts in the state,” the INEC Chairman added.

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Let Me Go, I Hate Playing In Europa League, Ronaldo Tells Man United

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Cristiano Ronaldo has asked Manchester United to let him leave should they receive a satisfactory offer this summer, the UK Times reports.

The 37-year-old’s decision is driven by his desire to play in the Champions League for the remainder of his career.

Ronaldo has featured in Europe’s top tier club competition for the last 19 consecutive seasons since he left Sporting Lisbon in 2003.

The Portugal captain has made 183 appearances in the Champions League, notching 140 goals and providing 42 assists.

Ronaldo has never played in the Europa League, in which the Red Devils will feature this season, after they could only finish sixth in the Premier League.

According to Ronaldo, he has “three or four years” left at the highest level.

The player has been linked with Chelsea and Bayern Munich in recent weeks.

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