Media chat illegal –Senate

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From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja

Senate has commenced consideration of a new bill, which will compel any sitting president to address Nigerians through a state of the nation address. Scores of senators said at yesterday’s plenary that it was unconstitutional for President Goodluck Jonathan to address Nigerians through a media chat.

The federal lawmakers were agitating for the president to come to the National Assembly to do so. Senators unanimously took this position during the second reading of the state of the nation address by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Bill sponsored by Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN).

Leading the debate, the Senate leader noted that, in line with the tradition of developed democracies, the bill would sought to enshrine a forum where the president, in company with his deputy and the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), would address a joint sitting of the National Assembly on critical national issues, comprehensively appraise and reflect on government performances in the past year. The president, Ndoma-Egba equally explained, would use the opportunity of the address to set goals, policy thrusts and agenda of the administration for the next year through broad ideas and specific details.

The Senate leader further argued that most of the advanced and a number of emerging democracies around the globe had entrenched this practice in their process of governance, even as a constitutional obligation. “The benefit of comprehensive overview of the state of the nation address by the executive and the consequent robust debate by the legislature is veritably invaluable to our nation’s stride towards accountability and transparency in governance as well as building national consciousness towards unity and patriotism.” Contributing to the debate, senators Uche Chukwumerije, Ganiyu Solomon, Victor Lar, Babajide Omoworare, Aloysius Etok, Kabiru Gaya and Magnus Abe agreed that the proposed state of the nation address should be an initiative seized by any sitting president.

They also further argued that such process would deepen democracy and ensure transparency in governance, rather than addressing Nigerians through a television chat such as the president did at the weekend. Some senators further contended that such media chat had “no legal basis in our Constitution.” Speaking on the bill, Deputy President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over yesterday plenary recalled that President Jonathan refused to pass the same bill forwarded to him in the Sixth National Assembly. Ekweremadu added that president Yar’Adua had pledged to sign the bill before he died, saying the Senate would veto it if Jonathan refused again to sign it this time.

Ekweremadu, who flayed the executive for sending its representatives to oppose the bill at a past public hearing, said: “The bill was introduced again in 2007 and 2008 in the Senate.” To ensure that it did not suffer the same fate by the opposition from the executive, I discussed it with the late president Yar’Adua. He was excited and looked forward to being the first president to present the State-of-the-Nation address.

He died, and it was Jonathan who then had the opportunity to preside over the bill, but he didn’t sign it. “Regretably, this was just towards the end of the last parliament. So, we didn’t have the opportunity to bring it back to override with veto. So when we resumed this time around, a member of the House of Representatives picked the bill and sponsored what we are presently debating. We would have overridden and vetoed the bill if we had had time to do so, but technically at the end of that particular session, both chambers were dissolved and we had to start afresh. “So it wasn’t that we didn’t know what to do.

We believe that this time, the president will sign the bill and if he fails to do so, we would invoke the power of vetoing. You can remember that one of his aides advised us that if the president doesn’t sign our bills, we know what to do. This may be the first time we will take his advice,” he said.

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22 Comments

  1. Honorable Senate (Senators) .

    The fact that the president is interacting with the nation through media chat should not be condemned! The forum is at the instance of the press or the presidency!

    Media chat does not march up with what the senate /National Assembly may want to do with the president at any time.

    What matters is information dissemination on a timely basis.

    Pls let us be focus!

  2. For God sake, why terming that Illegal? For the president to interact with his people through such medium should not be misunderstood or misconstrued to be illegal

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  4. These senate sounds ridiculous when has an elected officer talking with the press become an illegality.Yes the president can address via any other arrangement as canvassed by the senate,but calling media chart illegal in a democracy is illogical and taking these confrontations too far?

  5. senate must know the limit of their powers and have focus,senate leaders should come to the media and tell us Nigerians why they are the high paid in the world.

  6. These senators are bunch of self serving,misguided individuals.The anti terrorist bill has been lying fallow in the chambers and not passed which makes it impossible to try boko haram members why people die daily they did not veto it,only to say media chat is illegal.I don’t want to use insulting words to air my opinion but if you bunch of evil assembly has nothing to say shut your mouths.

  7. THIS IS RIDICULOUS. DAVID MARK SHOULD WATCH IT. IT IS ONLY ONE PERSON IN NIGERIA THAT WAS WHOLLY AND UNANIMOUSLY ELECTED. HE IS FOR THE PERIOD OF HIS ELECTION, THE RESIDENCE OF THE SUPREME WILL AND AUTHORITY OF THE NATION. THAT PERSON FOR NOW HAPPENS TO BE GOODLUCK JONATHAN AND NO OTHER PERSON ELSE.

    IT IS THEREFORE, FOOLHARDY, IF NOT IRRESPONSIBLE TO ASSUME OR ATTEMPT TO ASSUME THAT A SENATOR OR HOUSE MEMBER, NO MATTER HIS STANDING IN THE SENATE OR THE HOUSE IS EQUAL TO THE PRESIDENT. WHERE WERE THESE SAME SENATORS AND HOUSE MEMBERS WHEN OBASANJO AND YAR’ADUA HELD THEIR PRESIDENTIAL MEDIA CHART ?

    THE SHARE HUMILITY OF THE PERSON OF PRESIDENT JONATHAN SHOULD NOT DECEIVE ANYBODY OR BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED IS NOE THE DAILY ROUTINE OF DAVID MARK AND HIS BUNCH OF IDLERS.

    EXTENDING LEGISLATIVE DUTY TO WHITTLING DOWN ANYTHING THE PRESIDENT DOES IS INFANTILE AND SMIRKS OF IDLENESS. THESE INDOLENT LOAFERS SHOULD GIVE THE PRESIDENT A SPACE TO DO HIS JOB.

  8. THIS IS RIDICULOUS. DAVID MARK SHOULD WATCH IT. IT IS ONLY ONE PERSON IN NIGERIA THAT WAS WHOLLY AND UNANIMOUSLY ELECTED. HE IS FOR THE PERIOD OF HIS ELECTION, THE RESIDENCE OF THE SUPREME WILL AND AUTHORITY OF THE NATION. THAT PERSON FOR NOW HAPPENS TO BE GOODLUCK JONATHAN AND NO OTHER PERSON ELSE.

    IT IS THEREFORE, FOOLHARDY, IF NOT IRRESPONSIBLE TO ASSUME OR ATTEMPT TO ASSUME THAT A SENATOR OR HOUSE MEMBER, NO MATTER HIS STANDING IN THE SENATE OR THE HOUSE IS EQUAL TO THE PRESIDENT. WHERE WERE THESE SAME SENATORS AND HOUSE MEMBERS WHEN OBASANJO AND YAR’ADUA HELD THEIR PRESIDENTIAL MEDIA CHART ?

    THE SHARE HUMILITY OF THE PERSON OF PRESIDENT JONATHAN SHOULD NOT DECEIVE ANYBODY OR BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED. CONTESTING POWER WITH THE PRESIDENT IS NOW THE DAILY ROUTINE OF DAVID MARK AND HIS BUNCH OF IDLERS.

    EXTENDING LEGISLATIVE DUTY TO WHITTLING DOWN ANYTHING THE PRESIDENT DOES IS INFANTILE AND SMIRKS OF IDLENESS. THESE INDOLENT LOAFERS SHOULD GIVE THE PRESIDENT A SPACE TO DO HIS JOB.

  9. What is wrong with these legislooters ? Jona, it is high time you develop your ball like OBJ. Impeach Mark, I think due to the fact that he stole Young Alhaji,s mandate and nothing happens and he worked his way through PDP abacaraba and continued as the Senate presido , he is now thinking that we voted for him to rule us also ABI ? Nigerians have not forgot his stand on telephone when he is in charge there.
    HE SAID TELEPHONE IS NOT FOR THE POOR . Today God don shame him. Everyone has phone now.

  10. IF YOU PEOPLE THAT CONSTITUTE THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, SPECIALLY THOSE THAT REVERE IN THEIR LONG STAY THERE AND CLAIM TO BE EXPERIENCED WOULD SPEND HALF THE TIME YOU SPEND IN UNNECESSARY BICKERING AND CHANNEL SAME ON MORE PRODUCTIVE MATTERS THAT’D DELIVER ON THE EXPECTATIONS AND ASPIRATIONS OF NIGERIANS, YOU’D ACHIEVE MORE TO DESERVE [IF, AT ALL], THE SCANDALOUS PAY THAT YOU TAKE. WHAT DOES IT MATTER IF THE INFO NIGERIANS NEED FROM THEIR COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF COMES THRU’ A MEDIA CHAT OR A STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS?

  11. Everything done today in 9ja that does not sound favorable to Mr. President is seen as an attack. I don’t know why. For me that is how checks & balances can be seen. What the senate are saying is in line with the global democratic noms of the 21st century. It makes a lot of sense when we do this with our representatives please. The caption that is ilagal is a caption of attention by the news papers to sell.

  12. brothers d senate is right. d president is playing politics.what d president did was indirectly telling nigerians that subsidy shld go.there is nothing bad abt media chat but d president should address d nation through d house ,just as its done in develop nations. media chat shld be a thing that occurs frequently just as done in developed nation,but d president shld adress d nation through d house,cos d house represent us all.

  13. If the senate have exhauted all there ideas, they should go and rest. The president must communicate to nigerians using any forum that is accessable to the nigerian people. Media chat illegal my foot.

  14. HISTORY MUST BE TOLD.PETERS on

    these our selected, Oh sorry , sorry , elected rep members doesnt hve good policies tht will put food on our tables,give us security ,electricity,gd roads and hospitals to delibrates on it and put tht into law, but its how the presido addreses his fellow country men & women, that is their headache oh, my good God, wonders shall never end in this entity, abeg , this man can address us 4rm any where, even inside aso rock toilet, e no matter but the main thing na to give us the necessary things we need, simple, let them stop shasing shadows,b4 u no it now, they will set up committe to look unto it, sumthing unnecessary and carry our tax payee money to be paying them on each sitting. haba, WONDER SHALL NEVER END in this entity ooooo.

  15. Surely this bunch of thugs and clowns are proofing beyond every reasonable doubt that they truly good for nothing.imbeciles as senators.go kill your selves, pig headed fools

  16. We worry too much, d hse too both uper nd lower chamber shld also put 2 law a medium were by d tell us nigerians wat d do wt d constuency money d collect quarterly, u sell dog buy goat all d same

  17. Those dont even respect the pesident we will also not respect them. He is the president and also a first citizen of this conuntry. We the commonous have right to freedom of speech so even more is the president. funny senators focus on things that matters doing nothing down there.

  18. Goodwill Oleka on

    The problem we are having today in this country is ethnic sentiments, the true democracy is all about check and balances, organizing a media chart is not a forum to address the state of Nation and score card but an avenue to campaign so the suggestion of the senators are the real way to practice democracy and I do not see anything bad going to the senate and addressing the nation in the joint forum giving your score cards and what you intends to do the subsequent year, this senators are now alive to their duties, well done.

  19. I’m not one the president’s fan. But nothing is wrong with him addressing the nation through the media chat. These idiots in the national assembly should do something more productive that could help Nigerians rather than chasing wild goose. I doubt if they know why they are in the senate. Infact, we need more of the president’s interraction with Nigerians through any means. So, the senators should grow up.

  20. The Sun editors should be careful in their caption. The senate wants to make themselves known. There is nno place in the world where a media Chat with any country’s president is termed illegal

  21. The legislooters? I learnt another lingo today. Actually both the president and the National Assembly are right on this debate. The President should not be muzzled by the Assembly men/women but should be free to talk to the media as situation demands. This should not prevent the Legislators from passing a State of the Nation law.In U.S.A. the President appears on late night tv shows as well as day time tv to talk with the media. These media outlets gives the President lots of opportunity to reach the masses and to showcase his performance.

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