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Anambra South: Uba brothers take battle to Appeal Court

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Anambra South: Uba brothers take battle to Appeal Court

Following the last month ruling of the Anambra State National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal, which upheld the victory of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah in Anambra South Senatorial District, the Uba brothers – Andy and Chris Uba, who were his main opponents, have taken their case to the Court of Appeal, OKEY MADUFORO reports

     

Senator Andy Uba, the immediate past senator for Anambra South Senatorial District may have underestimated the enormity of the last general election in the area and may have gone to sleep oblivious of the capacity of Ifeanyi Ubah, who was the senatorial candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) in the February 23 National Assembly elections in Anambra South.

As a result, when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officially declared the oil magnate winner of the election, it came like a shocker to Senator Uba and many people in Anambra State, considering how Ubah defeated Andy and his younger brother, Chris, in the senatorial poll.

Andy, who was then the incumbent senator representing Anambra South in the Red Chamber, contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), while Chris was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Ifeanyi Ubah’s victory without any iota of doubt was a surprise to many people in Anambra State. For Chris Uba, the self-styled political godfather of the state, his loss at the senatorial poll painted a picture of a grand master beaten in his own game in a local derby. Chris, who had installed some public office holders in Anambra State as a political godfather in the past failed to actualise his own political aspiration. His brother, Andy, also failed to return to the Senate for third consecutive term.

The businessman turned politician, polled 87,081 votes to defeat 26 others. His closest rival was Chris (PDP), who got 62,462 votes to place second. Nicholas Ukachukwu of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) came third with 51,269 votes, while Andy (APC), got 13,245 votes to place a distant fourth.

The Uba brothers, who felt dissatisfied with the outcome of the February 23 National Assembly election, took their case to the state’s National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal, sitting in Awka. But rather than getting succour at the tribunal, their predicaments deepened further, as the three-man panel affirmed that Ifeanyi Ubah was validly elected and that the two petitioners, Chris and Andy could not prove their respective cases beyond reasonable doubt.

The tribunal dismissed all the 19 witnesses called by the petitioners, observing that the testimonies of the witnesses have evidential value and that it was bound to reject the evidences because the prosecution witness 1, who relied on the card reader did not prove the allegations leveled against the respondent.

Reacting to the ruling, Senator Ubah, who dedicate the victory to God, his wife, children and party, said the verdict in his favour is an attestation of both “the perfect will of God and the irrefutable choice of the good people of Anambra South at the February 23 polls”.

He described the judgement as victory for not only his senatorial district, but also for the entire people of Anambra State. He further stated that the ruling reinforces the confidence the people have in the judiciary.

He added that his victory is a good development for the advancement of democracy in Nigeria, noting that the judiciary has shown that it is indeed the last hope for all.

But, the Uba brothers were dissatisfied with the ruling of the tribunal and the duo has approached the Court of Appeal praying it to upturn the judgement on the ground that the tribunal erred in the process.

Ever since tribunal ruled on the petition instituted by the Ubas against Ifeanyi Uba, people have been x-raying the judgement placing the appeal alongside the ruling of the lower court.

This x-ray of the tribunal’s judgement is being considered by legal analysts on the submissions of the 19 witnesses and prove of manifest rigging and falsification of election results, which Justice Okara Ebimie Thelma, who delivered the judgement took time to elucidate as grounds upon which he gave his ruling.

The judge had held: “General comment on the Petitioner’s witnesses testimonies. PW1, PW10, PW14, PW16 and PW17 out of the 19 witnesses that testified for the Petitioner only five witnesses were polling unit agents for APC who gave evidence on what transpired in their polling unit but their testimonies were all impeached under cross examination. The tribunal therefore attaches very light weight to their testimonies only to the fact that they were within the Senatorial District on the day of election.

“The evidence of PW2, PW3, PW4, PW5, PW6, PW7, PW11, PW12, PW13, PW14, and PW18 who were ward collation/supervisory agents cannot be reliable as the evidence of the polling unit agents who were eye witnesses of all facts in their deposition. Having admitted under cross examination they were not at all the unit at the same time as they were moving round from one polling unit to the other. We therefore attach no probative value to their testimonies as roving agents.

“PW8 and PW9, these witnesses could not substantiate the allegation made in their depositions which were also badly discredited under cross examination. Their reference to voters reward voucher was vague and unsubstantiated and could not be linked to the 1st Respondent.”

“PW6, PW7, PW8, PW9, PW15, PW16, PW 17, PW18 and PW19 all deposed to the same set of facts in their affidavit. The question that comes to mind is could the same set of facts have happened in all the wards same time on the Election Day? This goes to show that such evidence is well rehearsed and makes such evidence unreliable see the holding of the court of Appeal.”

Another very curious finding of the tribunal in the evidence of these aforementioned set of witnesses is that a common denominator in their affidavit is the fact that card reader did not work during the February 23 elections.

Paragraph 3 of PW4, PW7, PW8, PW9, PW15, PW16, PW17, PW18 and PW19 witness statement on oath states: “The 11 witnesses as outlined above took a nose dive in their respective depositions of the 26th day of April and all relied on the ‘smart card data analysis’ product of a smart card that was not put to use during the elections. It is sure not the responsibility of this tribunal to choose and pick which line of evidence to follow between the two contradictory evidences of the above listed witnesses. This no doubt, has rendered the evidence of PW4, PW6, PW7, PW8, PW9, PW15, PW16, PW17, PW18 and PW19 very unreliable, no probative value or evidential value can be placed on such evidence of these witnesses.”

Be that as it may, the Uba brothers are indeed optimistic that the Appeal Court will give them justice, but the duty of the court is to weigh the judgement of the lower tribunal in order to reaffirm the victory of Senator Ubah or to call for a fresh election, which in recent times has become unfashionable.

As it stands, the appellate court also has that task of proving to the people of Anambra South Senatorial District that Senator Ifeanyi Ubah did not win the said election or to uphold the rulings and submissions of the lower tribunal.

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Kogi post-election killing: We abhor violence, criminalities – APC

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Kogi post-election killing: We abhor violence, criminalities – APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has condemned the post-election violence in Kogi State that led to the killing of the opposition Peoples Democratic party (PDP) Woman Leader, Salome Abuh and destruction of properties.
According to the party, in a statement from its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, it hates violence and criminalities.
Mrs. Abuh, who was a PDP Woman Leader in Kogi State, was killed a day after the Kogi State governorship election result was announced.
The party, which condoled with the family of the deceased and others affected by the post-election violence, said: “While the Kogi Police Command says the killing was as a result of a reprisal attack, we urge the Kogi people to ensure this does not escalate. We are aware that the Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello has already directed law enforcement agencies to fish out the perpetrators.
“The APC abhors violence and other criminalities which sadly continue to plague our electioneering process. We urge partisans to see election as a democratic contest and not a do or die affair that we pay with our lives. We pray that the culprits are caught and the full weight of the law is brought to bear on them.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has advised partisans that are not satisfied with the results of governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states to seek redress in court and shun violence. We must all heed this call.”

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Malaye petitions INEC, wants Kogi West senatorial poll cancelled 

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Malaye petitions INEC, wants Kogi West senatorial poll cancelled 

*Says election marred by violence, fraud

Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Kogi West in last Saturday’s senatorial election, Dino Melaye wants the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the entire exercise.
Malaye, who was at the headquarters of the Commission yesterday to submit his petition, said the election was marred by violence and ballot boxes snatching, adding that a helicopter was even used to intimidate voters.
In the petition, which was dated November 18 and signed by his Lawyer, Tobechukwu Nweke, the PDP candidate also submitted 21 copies of video discs, which he said, captured the infractions during the election.
“The content of my petition is that I am demanding the entire cancellation of the election,” he added.
He urged INEC to painstakingly study the events captured in the video, and said it was a revelation that election was not conducted in Kogi West on November 16.
“This is not an election. We are going to take it up and fight for our right to finish.
“We urge the Commission to cancel the entire election to the Senate of Kogi West senatorial district held on  Nov. 16,” Melaye demanded.
He alleged that the election was not conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) as well as the requisite guidelines and regulations issued for the election.
Melaye also took exception to the claim by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu that fake police officers operated during the election in Kogi State.

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Bayelsa guber: PDP as own albatross

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Bayelsa guber: PDP as own albatross

Why PDP lost Bayelsa to APC

 

EMMANUEL MASHA reports on the political intrigues that led to the defeat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has held sway in Bayelsa State since 1999 by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in last weekend’s governorship election 

 

 

T

o Nigerians, who reside outside Bayelsa State, especially those who do not follow the state’s politics, the victory of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over Senator Douye Diri of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) David Lyon, in last weekend’s governorship election in the state might come as a big surprise.

 

 

Some would be wondering who Lyon is and how he was able to defeat a serving senator, who was backed by an incumbent governor. They would also wonder why voters in a state, which has traditionally voted for the PDP, suddenly pitched tent with APC.

 

But, to residents of Bayelsa and those who really understand the state’s politics, the fall of the PDP after 19 years of dominance was caused by the party’s leadership at the state and national levels.

 

 

Starting from the state, where Governor Seriake Dickson calls the shot, the PDP lost touch with the reality that voters have the ultimate say in who wins an election, and not the power of incumbency. The party failed to realize that the fire brigade approach to election through empty promises or inducement, which is the norm in the country has its limits.

 

 

Across Yenagoa and other major towns and communities in Bayelsa State last Saturday, some voters were handed cash to influence their votes, but some of them still went ahead to vote according to their conscience.

According to some observers, Dickson as governor personally failed to read the mood and body language of the people. Some even concluded that if Dickson didn’t realize that majority of Bayelsians were unhappy with the way things had turned out in his second term in office and had been patiently waiting to pay him back.

 

Also, his appointees and aides, who are nearer to the people, and who are supposed to be his eyes, equally deceived him.

 

To realize the role “peoples power” played in this election, one only needs to move round the streets of Yenagoa to get the reaction of residents. From tricycle operators to market women and civil servants, there was a strong resolve to vote against Dickson’s anointed candidate – Diri.

 

For some of the tricycle operators, who have taken over the roads of Yenogoa, it was the failure of the government to provide employment opportunities that forced them into the business. Those who operate on hire purchase terms said they have to work till 10.pm to meet their respective targets and to take something home. Their biggest worry is that there is no single street light that works on Yenagoa roads.

 

So, they say that they are perpetually in darkness, while conveying their passengers at night, leaving them prone to attacks by hoodlums. Interestingly, Yenogoa is the only capital in the South-South geopolitical zone that goes for months without any blink of electricity.

 

Like most market women, and other residents had resolved long before the election, the tricycle operators, wore their resolve to vote against PDP like a badge of honour.

 

When the Dickson administration noticed that the state’s wage bill accommodated ghost workers, who only got salaries at the end of every month without doing anything and blocked the leakage, many commended him. But, when the state’s economy “collapsed” because government could not create employment opportunities and stopped the “sharing” system that thousands relied on, a major economic crisis ensued.

 

 

So, Saturday’s election for some was an opportunity to revolt against an “insensitive government.” The residents made good their promise to punish the PDP by taking advantage of the ultimate misstep of the party in the build-up to the election, which was complete disregard for internal democracy.

 

 

The emergence of an unpopular candidate to fly the party’s ticket not only extended the distance between the PDP and its supporters, including those that were supposed to sustain the relationship between the grassroots, it led to the defection of some prominent party members to the APC.

 

 

To most members of the PDP in the oil-rich state, their preferred candidate was a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, who they say, boasts of a solid support base across the state. Alaibe is widely seen as a true and worthy son of Bayelsa, who despite never having occupied an elected office is accorded the kind of respect they accorded late Diepreye Alamiseigha.

 

 

According to a reliable source, two former presidents advised Dickson before the PDP governorship primary to ensure a level playing field for all the aspirants, when efforts to make him back Alaibe failed.

Alaibe was the choice of many Bayelsans, who were waiting to reward him for building leaders. From ex-Governor Timipre Sylva (now Minister of State for Petroleum) to Douye and Lyon, they all worked for Alaibe at a point in their career. So, Bayelsaans, who came out en mass to vote, would have opted for Alaibe irrespective of his party.

 

 

According to an insider, Dickson refused to back Alaibe because he was afraid that the former NDDC boss will not to do his bidding if he becomes governor.

During the PDP primaries, Diri, the senator representing Bayelsa Central, scored 561 votes, while Alaibe, scored 365 in a contest that had 21 aspirants, including the deputy governor of the state, Gboribiogha Jonah, who scored 62 votes.

 

 

According to observers, most of the contestants were sponsored to reduce Alaibe’s vote and to prevent him from emerging victorious. However, Alaibe faulted the outcome of the exercise on the ground that the result was affected   by “inherent flaws bordering on crass disrespect for legal procedures and party guidelines.”

 

 

He also faulted the use of local council chairmen and councilors in the state as delegates in the primary.

 

 

He said in a statement: “For instance, by the provisions of Section 50(1) of the party’s constitution, the authority to formulate guidelines for all matters relating to the governorship primary is vested in NEC of the PDP. The election of ad-hoc delegates is one of such matters.

 

“Strangely, the panel set up to undertake this exercise simply imposed on us a list of electoral and returning officers prepared by the state officers of the party, who are avowed members of the orchestrated Restoration Team. Thus, the process was deliberately handed over to the Restoration Team. Our protest was ignored.

 

 

“We express our serious reservations about the process that led to the primary for its unconstitutionality and its outcome completely unacceptable because of its illegitimacy.”

 

 

By the time Diri spoke, he made it clear that Alaibe’s time has gone. He explained that when preparations were on for an Alaibe governorship years ago, he (Diri) was not even known. He added that he and others left Alaibe to forge his own political path and returned to the party to be appointed first as Deputy Chief of Staff and later Principal Executive Secretary by Governor Dickson.

 

 

His words: “We were in that sojourn for about 10 years, trying to see how we can make Chief Timi Alaibe governor. We are the people who even gave him that name, Principal. But that didn’t work out. So, at a point in one’s life, you have to take your destiny in your hands. I decided once again to take my destiny in my hands. I finally parted ways with Alaibe.”

 

 

Diri, however, called on Alaibe and others who contested against him, who are still not happy over the outcome of the primary election to “sheath their swords” and work with him to ensure victory for PDP.

 

 

While the PDP was in disarray after its primaries, APC capitalized on the situation. The game plan for APC to takeover of Bayelsa, spearheaded by Sylva was the political take-over of Southern Ijaw. His second journey to Government House, Yenagoa was cut short in Southern Ijaw in 2015 by Dickson. Victory did not come easy for Dickson, following the delay in the outcome of election in the area.

 

 

Sylva and his team achieved their plan early this year, when Hon. Preye Osake was elected on the platform of the APC to represent Southern-Ijaw Federal Constituency after defeating Hon. Ofongo Henry of the PDP.

 

 

Based on the voting strength of Southern Ijaw, Oseke was pressured by some to contest the governorship election before the APC primary, but he distanced himself from such, noting that he has four years to focus on representing his constituents.

 

 

Oseke added that he had no divided attention as a loyal party man and that APC leaders’ and major stakeholders in the state will decide on whoever will fly the party’s flag in the governorship election.

 

 

To seal the votes of Southern Ijaw, Sylva and his team drafted Chief David Lyon, who is from the area. This explains why APC polled 124,803 votes against PDP’s 4,898 votes out of the 165,449 registered voters in Southern Ijaw.

 

 

When results of the election was announced by INEC’s electoral officer, Prof. Faraday Oruwense, who is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, it was no longer news to Lyon’s supporters, who started celebrating shortly after the election on Saturday.

 

 

Another factor that contributed to APC’s victory was the several opportunities, which leaders of the party in Bayelsa leveraged on. Appointments into key federal agencies brought in a fresh crop of politicians that would mobilize voters and deliver their areas.

 

 

While the victors are savouring their triumph at the polls, Diri condemned the conduct of the election, alleging that results collated by his party’s agents showed that he won the election.

 

 

He also claimed that “members of the PDP were terrorized and arrested by soldiers on the orders of the General Officer Commanding the 6th Division of the Nigerian Army, General Sarham Jamil.”

 

 

Diri, who spoke in company of the National Chairman of the PDP Campaign Council and Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, and the National Vice Chairman of the party, Elder Emmanuel Ogidi, noted that what played out during the election, confirms the earlier red flag the PDP raised days to the poll about plans by the APC to use the army to rig the election.

 

 

He said that despite being posted out of the Niger Delta to the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, General Jamil still supervised the state’s election. He noted that critical stakeholders of the party were harassed and prevented from accessing the collation centre in Ogbia, which is former President Goodluck Jonathan’s local government area.

 

 

Diri added the chairman of the council, Hon. Ebiyon Turner and a serving member of the state House of Assembly representing Ogbia Constituency 11, Hon. Gibson Munalayefa, were all arrested and detained by soldiers.

 

 

He also noted that in Southern Ijaw, PDP members who were travelling to their communities for the election, including Dr. Michael Amaegberi, were apprehended by soldiers at Ogboinbiri, while their APC counterparts were allowed to go scot free.

 

 

“The collation centre in Ogbia was under siege by the Nigerian Army and as we all know that this is against the laws of our land. It is an anathema because the army has no business in determining who goes into a collation centre.

 

 

“In Nembe Local Government Area, materials for wards 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 13 never got to their destinations. Electoral laws are clear on hijacking of electoral materials and so we call on INEC to invoke the relevant laws so that the doctored results will not be accepted.

 

“We have very credible information that the Nigerian Army have been conniving with our opponent, the All Progressives Congress (APC) to hijack the process and manipulate the already known results,” the PDP candidate said during collation of results.

The complaints, notwithstanding, the biggest lesson over the Bayelsa governorship election is that the people wield the ultimate power and not the person they elected to serve them.

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Reps move for new scanners at nation’s ports

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Reps move for new scanners at nation’s ports

The House of Representatives has passed a motion urging the Federal Government to install scanners at the nation’s ports. PHILIP NYAM examines the import of the resolution by the lower chamber

 

T

he House of Representatives last week passed a resolution calling on the federal government and indeed the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to immediately purchase and install scanners at the nation’s seaports.

 

The directive was given following the adoption of the motion of urgent national importance by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) was unanimously adopted.

 

 

This is not the first time the issue of scanners has come up in the National Assembly. Early this year, chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa (then senior special assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora), had disclosed that scanners at some of the Nigerian airports were not working optimally.

 

The former lawmaker who made this known before the ad-hoc committee set up by the Senate to look into circumstances that led to the arrest of Ms. Zainab Aliyu in Saudi Arabia in December 2018, over planting of a banned drug, Tramadol, in her luggage.

 

 

While testifying before the ad-hoc committee, Dabiri-Erewa alleged that some foreign airlines were running drug cartels in connivance with some Nigerians at international airports across the country. “They operate alongside local collaborators. It is not Air Peace, not Arik Air,” she said.

 

 

 

Similarly, the airport chief of security of the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), Alhaji El-Yakub Lamir had also shocked the panel when he disclosed that scanners at the Aminu Kano International Airport in particular, were not configured to detect drugs. He said that there were 15 security agents involved in checking luggage’s at the point of entry and exit but that they had been reduced in number due to public complaints.

 

 

This scenario shows that the problem of absence or non-functionality of scanners at either the nation’s airports or seaports is real and deserves to be looked into. And shortly before the 2019 general elections, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed was reported to have disclosed that the federal government had paid for hi-tech scanners, which she promised that would be deployed to the seaports and airports on a build operate and transfer (BOT) basis.

 

 

According to her, “We have bought some scanners and there are hi-tech scanners that have been paid for, but we are waiting for delivery and the first deployment will be to the major ports. We will buy more and part of the single window process is that there is going to be a vendor that will provide scanners in all of the major seaports as well as major airports. They will run on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) and they will exit”

 

 

Just last Tuesday, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Alhaji Muhammed Babandede disclosed that the federal government has deployed a border management technology, the Migration Information Data Analysis System (MIDAS) at three international airports, 14 land and two sea borders to check irregular migration, human trafficking, and other cross-border crimes.

 

 

He said the MIDAS system had been installed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.

 

 

Babandede who was speaking during the inauguration of the system at the Abuja Airport said the technology would also be installed at four other airports across the country. He said the project was a collaborative effort of the NIS, the Danish government and the International Organization for Migration.

 

 

According to him, the MIDAS software collects, processes, stores and analyses migrant information in real-time across the border network, and provides a strong statistical base for security, migration policy and planning.

 

 

He explained that the MIDAS was designed to process and record both biographic and biometric details of passengers’ movement for the purpose of identification, biometric verification, inspecting, authenticating travel document and collecting and analyzing data of migrant information in real-time across the border network.

 

 

But leading debate on the motion, Ossai submitted that scanners in most ports within the country needed immediate replacement and emphasized that the scanners would help decongest ports and hike revenue for the country.

 

 

According to Ossai, other nations across the world, have imbibed technology and are reaping from its benefits noting that “there is no place in the world today that you don’t have a scanning machine. The other day, we went to the ports and you will marvel at the level of revenue we are losing”

 

 

He argued that without scanners at the ports, people with criminal tendencies would use the opportunity to bring in banned products and even firearms into the nation without being apprehended.

 

 

Supporting the motion, Hon. Bamidele Salam (PDP, Osun) said: “I want to add to the motion we have to find a solution to this general problem facing us as a country. If these scanners are effective, it would go a long way to save manpower”.

 

 

Also, Hon. Sergius Ogun (PDP, Edo), on his part, said “this is what some of us have always emphasized in the house. If you allow personnel of the customs to use their discretion that is where corruption comes in”.

 

 

Similarly, Hon. Luke Onofiok (PDP, Akwa Ibom) said “I want to suggest that we find a lasting solutions to the decongestion of our seaports through this method. I want to use this opportunity to ask the federal government to establish a seaport in Akwa- Ibom so as to help decongest these ports. Making his own contribution, the minority leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) said “This motion is very germane. If we have functioning scanning machines, we would not have illegal ammunitions circulating round the whole country. The scanning machines would be able to check all of this”.

 

 

Before adopting the motion, the House lamented that “the infrastructural decay and frustration experienced daily in our Ports by importers and exporters, which often leads to unnecessary demurrage and incurring of other charges by port users, resulting to high cost of goods in the country thereby causing inflation”.

 

 

The House added that “the economic importance of Customs Service makes it reprehensible that this age of fast technological development, the NCS is still engaging in physical examination of persons and cargos in our seaports, airports and border stations”

The motion was unanimously adopted when Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase put it to question.

 

 

Speaking on the issue after the plenary, chairman of the House Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon. Yuguda Hassan (APC, Jigawa) on the motion, he revealed that “the issue of scanners have been on, even before this administration came in, however, the motion has been overtaken by events because the federal government has agreed to procure scanners all over the country both in borders and seaports. Actually there’s a committee put in place already to tackle the issue of scanners”.

 

 

He noted that “there are a lot of benefits in having scanners to function well in our ports because it would check the importation of illegal goods and ammunitions in the country “, he submitted.

 

 

Many analysts are of the view that the resolution from the House of the procurement of scanners is long overdue considering the security challenges being faced by the nation. They are of the view that any effort that can block any loophole that may be exploited by insurgents and other dubious characters must be put to use.       

 

 

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Those eyeing Oyo governorship should wait till 2023 –Makinde

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Those eyeing Oyo governorship should wait till 2023 –Makinde

O

yo State governor, Seyi Makinde, told his political opponents to wait till 2023 to face him at the polls.

 

The governor, who was speaking while flagging off the reconstruction of the 65-kilometre Moniya-Ijaye-Iseyin Road, said that the people of Oyo State rejected the main opposition party in the state because they did nothing to develop the state.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted Makinde as saying that even though the previous administration awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the road, the job was not done while the money released was shared for the purpose of elections.

 

“We have told them to meet us in 2023,” Governor Makinde said, adding: “Though they got money, they did nothing. They spent the money on elections but did you vote for them? If they come to ask for your votes, will you vote for them?”

The governor further stated that he was determined to execute the road contract as a way of fulfilling his campaign promise.

 

 

He said: “I appreciate you for giving us the opportunity to serve you. During our campaign from here (Moniya) to Oke-Ogun, I promised that I will reconstruct the road if I become the Governor and, today, I am happy that it is the same project we are flagging off.

 

 

He restated the resolve of his administration to construct infrastructure that will target the State’s economy, adding that when completed, the road, which is quite close to ongoing Dry Port project at Olorisaoko, will aid the movement of agricultural produces and mineral resources from Oke-Ogun area to the Dry Port for onward exporting.

 

The 65 kilometre road is being executed by KOPEK Construction Company, at the cost of N9.9 billion.

 

 

The governor, who described the road as an important one that can uplift the economy of the State, said his government was embarking on the total reconstruction of the road as opposed to the planned rehabilitation by the immediate past administration.

He berated how the road had been abandoned for years, culminating in loss of lives and properties as well as the destruction of farm produces due to the deplorable condition of the road.

 

 

The governor further said: “On this project, we are not talking about patching but total reconstruction of the road. I know you are all aware that there is a Dry Port project ongoing here in Olorisaoko. So, when they are conveying agricultural produces and solid minerals all the way from Oke-Ogun, this is the point where we will be exporting them.

 

 

“You can recall that I also promised that the money we will spend on infrastructure will be targeted on expanding our economy and this road is a major road that can boost the economy of Oyo State. When we got into office, we discovered that the money that was awarded to carry out the road project was shared among those who held offices in the past administration. They spent the money on campaign and the last election and, upon that, you did not vote for them.

 

 

“This road was abandoned for eight years. Countless number of people have died on the road. Time has been wasted. In 2015, during the electioneering campaign, we had accident on this same road too but we thank God that no life was lost. It was because of that incidence that made me promise that if I eventually get the people’s mandate to serve the state, we won’t spend beyond 45 minutes to reach Iseyin from Moniya in the morning, afternoon and night. We will also mobilise security operatives to be patrolling the road.”

 

 

Governor Makinde added that State Government has given the contractor, KOPEK Construction Company, a mandate to deliver a quality road project that will be adopted throughout the State, noting that the company had been given the mandate to deliver a road with an asphaltic thickness of 50mm as against the 40mm thickness being targeted by the previous contractor.

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Bayelsa guber: Dickson tenders evidence of electoral fraud, violence

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Bayelsa guber: Dickson tenders evidence of electoral fraud, violence

…blames Army for colluding with APC to rig poll   

 

…dismisses purported feud with Jonathan

 

 

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ayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, yesterday, tendered video evidence in support of his claims of killings and election violence that characterised the conduct of last Saturday’s governorship election in Nembe Local Government Area and some other parts of the state.

 

 

Addressing a press conference in Yenagoa, Governor Dickson described the election as a charade and a carefully orchestrated plan to forcefully take-over Bayelsa State towards entrenching a one-party system.

 

 

He condemned in its entirety, what he termed as brazen connivance of security agents, particularly officers and men of the Nigerian Army with the All Progressives Congress (APC) thugs to hijack electoral materials in most local government areas of the state.

 

 

According to the governor, soldiers were deployed to Ogbia Local Government Area and other parts of the state and led by a certain lieutenant colonel from the 6th Division of the Nigerian Army to cart away electoral materials, thereby undermining the process in favour of the APC.

 

 

The governor, therefore, called on the APC-led Federal Government to take drastic action in safeguarding the country’s democratic principles and protecting the fundamental rights of Nigerians in every election.

 

Dickson, who was speaking for the first time after the conduct of the election, noted with dismay, the involvement of the Army in the killings of some members of the PDP, ballot snatching and hijacking of election materials by APC members and declaration of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) even in areas, where election did not hold.

 

The governor, who urged Bayelsans to be calm, said the reprehensible acts against democracy would be addressed through democratic procedures.

 

His words: “This was not the first time that we are having elections. People were killed, some ripped open and thrown into the river and up till now, no arrest has been made. We all know that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva and a notorious militant, Sam Kodjo, all plotted and carried out this heinous act, which actually was an assassination attempt because I was billed to visit Nembe that day for the PDP campaign.

 

“As democrats, we believe in using democratic procedures in challenging what happened. In Ogbia, there was no collation done. In most of the areas, at the conclusion of voting, the soldiers came and rounded up everybody and forcibly took them to Ogbia town and asked all PDP leaders to leave to enable them replace pre-written results. So, the results announced for Ogbia, like those for Southern Ijaw and Nembe were not real.

 

“What has happened in Bayelsa is one of the most brazen acts of distortion and rape of our democracy. What took place was not a democratic election. It was a military coup. It was the height of conspiracy by the Federal Government and security agencies to subvert the democratic rights of our people for the sole purpose of foisting the APC on the people.

 

“It has never been like this before. In 2015, it wasn’t as bad as this. In this case, not only was the Army directed to take over our place, but to collude with the APC thugs to unleash terror on our people.”

 

Dickson also described as balderdash, the notion being bandied about by APC mischief-makers that it was disagreement between him and former President Goodluck Jonathan that led to their pyrrhic victory, emphasizing that Jonathan remained a leader of the entire country whose image and reputation are too weighty to be dragged in the mud by the opposition party.

 

He explained that as a leader of the country, the former president was at liberty to receive members of the APC, who paid him a visit, but warned on the dangers posed by the satanic insinuations being weaved around the visit by the party to “sell their diabolic plot to turn Nigeria into a one party-state and a vicious attempt to legitimize illegitimate and indefensible electoral outcome.”

 

 

He stressed that no politician had stood by Jonathan more than himself and that in the build-up to the election, he visited the former president about 16 times to discuss with him on the way forward for the PDP.

 

 

He said: “President Jonathan remains a leader of our country. He is at liberty to receive members of any political party, but in the context of all that is going on, I know that the insinuations are not misplaced. APC came to Bayelsa to take his state and people by force. With the comments they are making about him; the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, coming to Bayelsa to praise Jonathan. What they were doing is laying the foundation to perpetrate fraud and violence

 

 

“No politician has stood by Jonathan more than me. They simply used his name and image to legitimize illegitimacy. I can see the strategic content. They used Jonathan to expand the notion of disagreement and after the rigging, went to him like Pontius Pilate to wash off their hands and put it at his doorsteps to say he sanctioned it. But, let’s accord him the right to meet with other dignitaries”

 

 

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Group urges PDP, Dickson to concede defeat

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Group urges PDP, Dickson to concede defeat

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group, Niger Delta Youth Coalition for Peace and Progress (NDYCPP) has urged the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri and Governor Henry Seriake Dickson to emulate ex-President Goodluck Jonathan by conceding defeat.

 

 

Bayelsa State chapter chairman of the group, Henry Nabena, who gave the advice in Yenagoa, applauded the peaceful conduct of the electorate, who voted during the poll, while maintaining that Dickson should learn to be a statesman.

 

He also commended the security agencies for effective security cover during the election, which, according to him, went against the prediction that the polls would be marred by violence.

 

 

His words: “We commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for their performance in this election; they should sustain this record and improve on it. We equally applaud the Nigeria media for their balanced and factual reports of events during the elections even at the risks of their lives and under a very difficult terrain.

 

 

“We call on INEC to ignore the cry of Dickson and the PDP for the cancellations of results from Nembe, Ogbia and Southern Ijaw LGAs as the elections conducted in those areas were remarkably very peaceful and credible. Bayelsa people and the electorate have spoken through their votes and that is the voice of liberation and freedom from shackles of manipulation and we are very happy that both local and foreign observers have endorsed the process.

 

 

“We are proud that Bayelsa people have proved bookmakers wrong. Our people have debunked the perception that we are violent. That stereotype is false. The result of the election is a reflection of the wishes of the people and INEC should be commended for making votes count.”

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…Gov inaugurates 41-member transition committee

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he Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson also yesterday inaugurated a 41-member Transition Committee in readiness for a smooth take-over of the incoming administration.

 

The committee, which has the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barr. Kemela Okara as chairman; Hon. Talford Ongolo (Deputy Chairman) and Mr. Luka Obiri (Secretary) is the first of its kind in the political history of the state.

 

 

Other members of the committee were all serving commissioners, five permanent secretaries and political appointees were inaugurated at the Governor’s Conference Room, Government House, Yenagoa.

 

 

A statement by Dickson’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, said the constitution of the Transition Committee was in line with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

 

Dickson said the governorship election purportedly won by the APC is a charade, noting that irrespective of the outcome of the several initiatives being taken by the PDP, there was still need for a proper handover process to be initiated.

 

 

He said: “knowing that what transpired is not an election, we have to set up a transition committee. The first time in democratic rule and I thank God for the grace and enablement for making this possible for eight years and with a lot of achievements.”

He said the purpose of the committee is to articulate, record and document all the policies, programmes, projects and achievements of the Restoration Administration in all sectors in almost eight.

 

 

“the purpose is to articulate and record all that we have achieved and done in all sectors as a state and that’s why all commissioners are part of this committee to enable you present a scorecard of all our policies and programmes both completed and ongoing projects,” he said.

The governor further said that it is the outcome of this work that would be handed over in various forms to the incoming government. 

 

Noting that achievements of his government would be a testimony and Bayelsans are assured of continually enjoying the dividends of democracy, he thanked members of the committee for their diligence, sacrifice and manner they served his administration.

 

 

In his address, the chairman of the committee, Okara, stated that the purpose of the transition committee, is to prepare ground for smooth take-over of the incoming administration.

 

 

He described the task as a major one because it cuts across all sectors, but assured that before the end of the year, the committee will complete its assigned task.

He added that they would produce a very thorough and standard report that other states will emulate.

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Kogi: Thugs burn PDP Women Leader to death in post post-election violence

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Kogi: Thugs burn PDP Women Leader to death in post post-election violence

 

 

Jubilation over the declaration of Governor Yahaya Bello as Kogi State governor-elect for second term, on Monday turned bloody at Achadamu community in Ofu Local Government Area, as blood thirsty thugs set ablaze a 60-year-old woman, Mrs Acheju Abuh in her home.

The thugs it was learnt were celebrating the victory of Yahaya Bello at last Saturday’s election in the state, when they moved to the late Mrs Abuh home, locked her inside the house and set it on fire.

The victim, Mrs Acheju Abuh, was the Women Leader of Wada Aro Campaign Council, Ochadamu Ward.

Reacting to the banal act, the spokesman, Wada/Aro Campaign Council, Faruk Adejoh-Audu said: “The jubilant thugs were Chanting GYB 4+4, the thugs, shooting sporadically, arrived Hon (Mrs) Abuh’s house at about 2pm this afternoon (on Monday) and surrounded the house, bolting every exit and escape from outside.

“They then poured petrol on the building and set it ablaze as other terrorized villagers watched from hiding. She reportedly attempted to escape through a window but was prevented by the metal burglary proof and gun shots with bullets raining in her direction.

“The blood-thirsty thugs waited, shooting and watching with relish while Mrs Abuh cried from inside the inferno until her voice died out.

“They reportedly left only when the entire house and Mrs Abuh had been burnt to ashes. There are fears that the killing spree may escalate.

“We are calling on all men of good conscience to immediately help the people of Kogi State appeal to the Inspector General of Police to rein in Bello’s thugs and protect our people whose only crime was that they voted for their choice, a vote that was never allowed to count.”

Meanwhile, the Kogi State Police Command confirmed the incident through its Public Relations Office, DSP William Aya.

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Change of baton in Ezza South

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Change of baton in Ezza South

The political ambiance of Ezza South/Ikwo federal constituency in Ebonyi State changed last week following the sack of Lazarus Ogbe, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member representing the constituency by the Court of Appeal in Enugu. In this report, UCHENNA INYA writes on how the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the February 23 election, Comrade Chinedu Ogah, got his mandate restored

 

About nine months ago, precisely February 23, the National Assembly elections held simultaneously across the 360 federal constituencies of the country and new National Assembly members were elected to represent the constituencies and zones.

In Ezza south/Ikwo federal constituency in Ebonyi state, Hon. Laz Ogbe of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) was declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC).

According to the electoral body while announcing the outcome of the poll,  Ogbe polled 31,296 votes while Ogah  scored  27,700 votes.

But dissatisfied with the result, Ogah immediately filed a petition before the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abakaliki to challenge the outcome of the election.

Ogah, who is an APC chieftain alleged that the election was characterised by fraud and that he lost 10,000 votes in the ‘electoral fraud. He prayed the tribunal to declare him the winner by restoring the votes deducted from him.

The tribunal commenced sitting and entertained his petition. After all said and done, the lower court gave its ruling on the matter on September 9, 2019.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Sika Henry ruled that from evidence presented before the tribunal to back up his claim, Ogah scored 36,238 votes in the election while Ogbee got 33,263.

The tribunal ordered INEC to immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Ogbee and give it to Ogah.

The tribunal said: “It is the first respondent that won the majority of the lawful votes in Ezza south. The total number of votes scored by the petitioner(APC) and first respondent(Ogbe) for Ezza south/ Ikwo federal constituency is tabulated as follows; Ezza south LGA APC 8, 311, PDP 17,139. Ikwo LGA APC 27, 927  PDP 16, 127.  The total votes for APC is 36, 238 and the total votes for PDP is  33, 200  votes.

“It is the petitioner that scored the majority of the lawful votes having scored 36, 238 votes as against the PDP candidate the first respondent who scored 33,200 votes. We entirely agreed with the petitioner that he scored the majority of the lawful votes from our own computation.

“The Certificate of Return issued to the 1st respondent by the 3rd respondent(INEC) as representing Ezza south/Ikwo federal constituency is hereby withdrawn forthwith and must be issued to the petitioner, Comrade Chinedu Ogah as the winner of the election conducted on the 23rd of February, 2019 to the membership of the House of representatives to represent Ezza South/Ikwo federal constituency”, the tribunal ruled.

Expectedly, counsel to Ogbee, Chief Roy Umahi protested against the judgment. Addressing journalists at the tribunal premises after the ruling, he said “I want to say that I am not altogether disappointed with the judgment because I expected that it will be this way. We will start drafting the notice of our appeal”.

But Chief Tofa Mba Okweni (SAN) who is the counsel to the petitioner, said “We looked at the entire result of the election when we reviewed the whole thing and found out that the polling unit result which forms the basis of the election was not what was collected at the ward level and we filed our petition challenging the result declared by INEC on the grounds that they did not collate the proper result of the election.

“What they collated did not reflect the outcome of the election at the polling units. We then asked the tribunal which has the power  to re-compute the result of the election based on the outcome of the election at the polling units to do so”.

After the tribunal verdict, Hon. Ogbee who was serving his second tenure before his sack by the tribunal filed an Appeal at Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu to challenge the tribunal ruling.

On Friday last week, the Appeal court dismissed the appeal as lacking in merit and affirmed Ogah as the winner of the February 23rd National Assembly election.

Justice Ignatuis Agube delivered the  judgment on behalf of Justice Veronica Dongban-Mensem.

Ogah while reacting the Appeal court judgment, said “My victory at the tribunal and Appeal court has shown truly that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man and it has also shown that the judiciary is the people that you cannot toy with, they are upright and doesn’t collect bribe to pervert justice. They believe in what is right and saw that my constituents voted for me the February 23 National Assembly election.

“The judiciary has restored the hope of the masses by restoring my stolen mandate. My coming into the National Assembly will bring tremendous changes in my constituency and the state in general in the sense that there will be no more time than the quota of Ebonyi in federal recruitment will be sold out as it used to be.

“I can’t be a legislator and there is quota of police in the recruitment for Ebonyi and it will be sold out. In the recent recruitment, Ebonyi quota was reduced from 150 to 100. I can’t be in the National Assembly and such a thing will continue to happen. I cannot be a National Assembly member and Ecological fund will be going to another place and it will not come to my constituency.  I am not going to the National Assembly to fight people, I am going there to do what is right and speak for my constituents”.

On his part, Ogbee thanked his supporters for their support. He opined that in the February 23rd election, he won against all odds. He alleged that the court truncated his victory at the polls and congratulated Chinedu Ogah for emerging victorious at the tribunal and Appeal court.

“I want to thank the people of Ezza south and Ikwo Federal constituency for all the supports they have given to me. I want to appreciate the Governor of our state, Chief David Umahi. I want to thank the Divine Mandate and PDP families. I want to specially appreciate my people-the people of Amazekwe for giving me their supports and I want to appeal to them to accept the verdicts of the court in good fate.

“By the special grace of God, I shall bounce back next time. I want to thank and appreciate my party, the PDP from my ward, local government, State to the national levels. I thank them for giving me all the opportunities all these while to serve. I thank them for all the various capacities I have served. In chronicling my journey in political positions, I want to sincerely appreciate God. God is a faithful God. I as Laz Ogbee cannot actually equate the love God has bestowed on me as an individual. From being a supervisory councilor in a military era from 1998-1999; I became a local government party chairman from PDP to ANPP.

“I came in again as supervisory councillor for education for Ezza East Development Center from 2005-2006. By 2007, I was appointed as the pioneer Coordinator of Ezza South East Development center. I was there for two years and two months and I resigned to contest for the chairmanship of Ezza south local government and I won. I was sworn in on November 1, 2010- 2013 and I contested again and I also won. By 2014, because of our support for the government of Ebonyi state today, the local government system was sacked and it was because of my support for the government that is in place in Ebonyi today.

“The local government system in Ebonyi was sacked through Court. By 2015, I won as Honourable member Federal House of Representatives, representing Ezza south and Ikwo Federal constituency. And by 2019, against all odds, I won again. To this I want to sincerely thank God Almighty and appreciate the people of Ezza South and Ikwo Federal constituency. They gave me their mandate and Court truncated it. I defended it to the Court of Appeal and the Court gave it to my opponent. On this note, I want to congratulate my opponent, Comrade Chinedu Ogah”, he said.

A constituent of the area and Public Affairs Analysts, Dennis Uzim said Ebonyi Central Senatorial Zone zone which Ezza south/Ikwo federal constituency is part of has remained the bastion of Ebonyi politics and a beehive of recalcitrant since 1999 in Ebonyi state.

According to him, in 2003 general election, Ezza/ Ikwo federal constituency returned ANPP candidate, Hon Francis Elem.

“Again in 2011 general election from the same Ebonyi Central Senatorial Zone, Hon Engr Peter Edeh of the ANPP was returned elected by Ezza North/ Ishielu Federal Constituency to represent them as member, Federal House of Representatives.

“Now in 2019, eight years after as usual, Comrade Chinedu Ogah have been affirmed by the Appeal Court as the duly elected representative of Ezza south/ Ikwo federal constituency all in Ebonyi Central Senatorial zone. All those took place while PDP held sway at the state level as the political party in the seat of power.

“All the above occurred during the election for the second tenure in office of Dr Sam Egwu, Chief Martin Elechi, and Engr David Umahi respectively.  Suffix it to say that Ebonyi Central Zone adds zest and verve to Ebonyi politics. In election for political offices in Ebonyi Central it is never over until it is over” Uzim said.

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