In view of dwindling oil revenue, Ebonyi State governor, Chief Dave Umahi, says he has marshalled out plans for the survival of the state by the time the nation runs short of revenue from crude oil, UCHENNA INYA reports
Crude oil was first discovered in Oloibiri Bayelsa State in June 1956. Since then, Nigeria has largely depended on it for survival. But there are worries that the nation may run out of oil in the next 20 or 50 years.
It is against this backdrop that Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State had since he came on board in 2015, has been advocating for diversification of the economy as a result of the dwindling oil revenue.
Oil has remained a major source of revenue for the country and most of the states depend on it for survival. But Ebonyi State has started strategizing on life after oil. To this end, the state has shifted attention to agriculture as its people are predominantly farmers.
The government had established three rice mill clusters across the three senatorial zones of the state. It has also launched what it termed “one-man-one hectare policy,” which makes it compulsory for all government officials and every individual in the state to own a farm.
The one-man-one hectare policy explains why the state is one of the three largest producers of rice in Nigeria as 53,000 farmers in the state were profiled on rice production in 2016.
Cassava production has also remained a priority crop in Ebonyi State. Apart from introducing hybrid vitamin A and C cassava stems, the government procured for farmers in the state, four numbers of five-ton/hour cassava processing machines, including machines for cassava starch and flour.
Reiterating the need for diversification of the economy, Governor Umahi, who was the guest lecturer at 59th Founders’ Day Celebration of University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), last week with the theme: “Preparing Ebonyi State for tomorrow’s zero oil economy,” said apart from oil, there are great opportunities for non-oil sectors to grow. This, he said, has been visible since 2001.
According to him, the country can develop different sectors by taking the important steps from the government’s side.
Umahi said Nigeria needs credit access for small business, opportunities for medium-size business, modernization in agriculture sector, development of textiles, development of tourism and creative industry, independence of businesses and private sector participation in economic development, reduction of the involvement of the government in economic production and introduction of new opportunities as well as human capital development through education, capacity building and empowerment instead of relying only on traditional sectors.
His words: “This topic otherwise captioned planning for the inevitable: “Ebonyi State must survive in a restructured Nigeria and in a zero oil economy” is a wakeup call to all leaders of the various levels of government. Before I start, I wish to refer to the remarks by President Muhammadu Buhari, in a lecture titled: “The zero oil plan: Nigeria must survive in a world in which we sell oil no more.”
He said that “for over 50 years, the Nigerian economy has depended mainly on a single export product, crude oil, as its main source of national and government income. Crude oil has essentially funded almost everything in Nigeria-from the goods we import, the infrastructure we build, to our public sector wages. It has also provided the primary underlying support for our currency. While the obsession with oil may have worked in the past, Nigeria needs a very different economic paradigm for its future. This is a great inspiration to leaders at all levels.
“Countries like China, United States and the European countries are now focusing on the future and the urgency of the complicating realities of oil economy in the midst of daunting climate change and technological innovations. As it is today, the European Union is projecting that by 2050, wind and solar energy will displace energy generated from crude oil. This is aimed at tackling climate change, international petroleum competitiveness and economic diversification.
“China is leading the world in the manufacturing of electronic cars and machines. All these technological innovations will surely crash the value of oil in the near future. There are probably three reasons why Nigeria needs to genuinely pursue zero-oil economy or diversification.
“First is to insulate the economy from the risk of being vulnerable to a single commodity as the different oil prices crashes have shown. Second is to create jobs that can raise the living standard of an average Nigerian. Oil and gas jobs account for less than one per cent of total employment and the young population can no longer be absorbed by the public sector. Third is to prepare for life beyond the oil revenue.
“Nigeria’s economy potentially lies beyond oil. In 1960, Nigeria had a leading position across several of her export crops, especially groundnut, cocoa, cotton and palm oil. At that time, her share of the world’s agriculture exports was in excess of one per cent. By the mid 1980s, however, agriculture exports collapsed as the country shifted towards petroleum exploration and by the 1990’s, Nigeria’s share in world export of agriculture had declined to less than 0.1 per cent.”
Umahi explained that the 45-year dominance of oil in the country started waning in 2016, when its prices and the value of the naira crashed, leading to recession.
He regretted that over the past five decades, the nation has been running a mono-product economy, entirely dependent, financed and operated on income generated from crude oil exports, which according to him has created vulnerabilities within Nigeria’s economy.
He said: “On aggregate, 90 per cent of the budgetary revenues of states in Nigeria are funded through allocations from the federation (mostly oil), while only 10 per cent is funded by Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) within states. The capacity for self-sustenance in many states has therefore been largely unexplored.
“This over concentration on a single commodity creates deep fault lines within the economy as global oil price crashes travel through all facets of the Nigerian economy. Nigeria’s oil resources should be used as a down payment to build a robust diversified export basket of other products – to create jobs, earn foreign exchange and attract investments.
“Essentially, Nigeria must ‘use oil to move beyond oil.’ Our large population of 180 million people means we do not have enough oil to meet the needs of all our citizens. A lower nation with a lower population than Nigeria has oil reserves of 9,900 barrels per person (for each citizen), Saudi Arabia has 9,241 barrels per person, while Nigeria has only 214 barrels per person.
“To translate this in another way, assuming Nigeria produced all its proven oil reserves in one day and immediately distributes the financial proceeds to all its citizens, the maximum amount each person would receive is $15,000, at $70 per barrel. In this scenario, after this ‘one time’ $15,000 cash distribution, there will be no oil for anyone.”
Umahi, who is the chairman South-East Governors’ Forum further opined that a restructured Nigeria based on a zero oil economy will transform into a nation with a different constitution in which the Exclusive and Concurrent legislative lists will look different from what they are at the moment.
“My vision is simple; to build a state economy that will thrive even when our income from crude oil goes to zero. A restructured economy is a diversified economy. It will usher in the following – new jobs, macro-economic environment stabilization, encouragement of youth development, supporting high social standards, fight against corruption at all levels, protecting environment, foreign exchange rate improvement, safety in public places, better coordination between cities, states, and government and cleaner environment.
“We are working on the stack reality that one day, federal allocation will diminish or worse still extinguish and the world would have moved forward without oil. Ebonyi State does not have her oil reserve yet developed and does not enjoy 13 per cent derivation. In planning for tomorrow based on our conviction that one-day oil will become history, we focused on these Programs: solid infrastructure, agriculture, solid mineral, human capital development, tourism, water production, entrepreneurship, vocational development, education, health, industrialization and security as critical sectors that will drive our initiative on zero oil economy.
“Agriculture is the mainstay of our economy and has the propensity to provide employment and wealth creation to majority of both skilled and unskilled population of our state. We have introduced entrepreneurship activities in agriculture, in primary, secondary and tertiary productions value chain. Our target is to encourage agri-business. We started by making farming compulsory for all public and civil servants and we had to declare one-man-one hectare programme to all elected and appointed people, including civil servants.
“This made Ebonyi State to emerge as one of the three largest producers of rice in Nigeria. We profiled over 53,000 farmers on rice production in 2016 and since then we have continued to increase the zeal of rice farmers and we gave them improved rice seedlings and other inputs, including soft loans.
“We launched mechanization of agriculture wherein many modern farm implements such as tractors, threshers, tillers were procured and given to farmers. We already have a history of being a state with the biggest rice milling clusters in Africa, so we had to increase the tempo by rehabilitating three numbers of five metric tons per hour capacity modern rice mills. We procured equipment and installed three numbers of three metric tons per hour capacity parboiling plant to operate side by side with the rice mills. This has increased activities in the rice value chain and we propose that by 2020, every local government area shall have a modern rice mill.”
Appeal Court affirms Okowa’s election as Delta gov
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday affirmed the election of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate Great Ogboru, were challenging the election of Okowa.
Respondents in the appeal are Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Ogboru and his party, APC were seeking to upturn the decision of the Delta State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which returned Okowa for a second term as governor of Delta State.
INEC had declared Okowa and PDP winner of the March 9 governorship election in Delta State, haven garnered majority of the lawful votes cast in the election.
But the appellants in a 37 grounds of appeal filed by their counsel, Nicholson Ichekor, asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the entire judgment of the tribunal on the grounds that the tribunal erred in law when it dismissed their appeal for lacking in merit.
The three-man panel of the governorship election panel led by Justice Suleiman Belgore, had in September dismissed Ogboru and APC’s petition against the return of Governor Okowa on grounds that the petitioners failed to prove the cases of irregularities and malpractices claimed in their petition.
Bayelsa guber: Declare state of emergency in Nembe over killings – Diri
Pauline Onyibe, Yenagoa
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s Bayelsa State governorship election, Douye Diri has said that a state of emergency should be declared in Nembe Local Government Area where he alleged that the opposition, All Progressives Congress (APC), maimed about six of their members on Wednesday.
He made the plea in Yenagoa, the state capital, on Friday morning on a live radio programme.
The PDP candidate said: “What APC is doing in Nembe is not different from what Boko Haram is doing in the North.”
Diri expressed dismay at the propaganda being spread by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva and insisted that justice must be served on the perpetrators of the dastardly killings.
He stated that after the attack, members of the party were still being hunted at Ogbolomabiri and neighbouring Bassambiri with a view to killing them while alleging that a town crier also announced that all PDP members should leave the town whether they are indigenes or not.
Diri appealed to all those who left the PDP to return and see Bayelsa State as their interest since the APC has no candidate for the governorship election.
Kogi, Bayelsa: APC, PDP in test of might
It is another test of might between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the February/March general election as voters in Kogi and Bayelsa states go to the polls tomorrow to elect their respective next governors, FELIX NWANERI reports
After months of political intrigues, the stage is set for a fierce contest in tomorrow’s governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
Already, the race has rekindled the rivalry between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
APC won the last presidential election and retained the country number one political seat, which it took from the PDP in the 2015 general election. However, both parties were neck and neck in the governorship polls that took place in 29 states in the 2019 general election.
The PDP won 15 out of the 29 states, while APC won 14. The states won by PDP are Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi, Delta, Enugu, Taraba, Abia, Imo, Oyo, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Sokoto, Rivers and Zamfara. Those won by APC are Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna, Plateau, Jigawa, Borno, Katsina, Yobe, Nasarawa and Kano, Kwara and Gombe.
Governorship elections did not hold in seven states – Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Osun and Ekiti as a result of the interregnum by the courts. Of these seven states, APC is in charge in five – Kogi, Edo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti. The PDP only holds sway in Bayelsa, while Anambra is controlled by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
As it stands, the Adams Oshiomhole-led APC has 20 states, while the Uche Secondus-led PDP controls 16. APGA is in charge of only one state. But PDP added more states to its kitty after the 2019 polls.
Remarkably, the main opposition party took over five APC controlled states – Adamawa, Imo, Oyo, Bauchi and Zamfara. APC, on its part, won two PDP controlled states – Gombe and Kwara.
While the 2019 polls is now history, it is another test of might between the two leading parties eight months after the general election as they battle for the governorship positions of Kogi and Bayelsa states.
Interestingly, the governorship polls in the two states will not be the first time APC and PDP would be returning to the ring after a general election. The first was the gubernatorial polls in the same states after the 2015 general election. Both parties shared the states apiece then, with APC taking over Kogi from PDP, while PDP retained Bayelsa.
No doubt, several factors shaped the 2015 governorship polls in the two states, so it will amount to a political gamble for any of the two parties to rely on old variables going into tomorrow’s contest given the dynamic nature of politics.
Kogi: PDP plots Bello’s ouster
In Kogi, it would be battle royale as Governor Yahaya Bello, who have been in the eyes of the storm since he assumed office on January 27, 2016, seeks a second term.
The governor secured his party’s ticket after polling 3,091 votes from 3,596 delegates, who participated in APC’s indirect primary election on August 29.
Those Bello routed to clinch the ticket are Hadiza Ibrahim (zero), Yahaya Audu (10), Sani Abdullahi (seven), Abubakar Bashir (three), Danlami Mohammed (zero), Yakubu Mohammed (zero), Ikele Aisha (zero), Hassan Abdullahi (44) and Babatunde Irukera (109).
Against this backdrop, the incumbent would be squaring against Musa Wada, who emerged the candidate of the PPD after beating 12 others in a keenly contested primary election.
Wada polled 748 votes to defeat his closest rival, Abubakar Ibrahim, who polled 710 votes to come second, while former Governor Idris Wada came third with 345.
Other PDP aspirants were Senator Dino Melaye (70), Aminu Abubakar Suleiman (55), Victor Adoji (54), Erico Ahmeh (42), Salihu Atawodi (11), Mohamed Shaibu (4l), Bayo Averehi (nine), Emmanuel Omebije (nine) and Grace Adejoh (zero).
Bello was elected governor for the first term in 2015, following his party’s defeat of the incumbent governor, Capt. Idris Wada. He made history then as the first governor from the minority ethnic groups in the state to occupy the historic Lugard House as Kogi State government house is known. He is Ebira of Kogi Central Senatorial District.
Before then, the Igala people of Kogi East Senatorial District have had enough of power, having ruled the state since it was created in 1991 by the General Ibrahim Babangida regime.
But, Bello’s emergence as governor would not have been possible if not for the demise of his party’s candidate in the November 21, 2015 poll – Prince Abubakar Audu.
The former two-time governor of the state (1992 to 1993 and 1999 to 2003) was coasting to victory in the poll, when he passed on. This unfortunate incident almost triggered a constitutional crisis as the then constitution did not envisage such situation.
The impasse over the incident was however resolved, when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) directed the APC to nominate another candidate as Audu’s substitution for the December 5, supplementary poll in the 91 polling units, where elections were cancelled.
The electoral body had declared the election inconclusive midway during collation and announcement of results, following the cancellation of results in the affected polling units due to incidences of violence, ballot boxes snatching, over voting, among others.
Late Audu was at the time leading his closest rival and incumbent governor, Wada by 41, 000 votes, whereas the total number of registered voters in the 91 polling units was 49,953, a figure, the commission explained was higher than the margin between the top contenders.
The window to substitute Audu, rather than serve as a relief to the APC, sparked off another round of crisis as the deputy governorship candidate, Hon. James Faleke, wrote to INEC that he should be declared winner on the ground that the supplementary poll was needless as the number of eligible voters in the affected areas stood at 25, 000 and so will not make any impact in the overall result.
The PDP, on its part, urged the electoral body to declare its candidate, Wada, winner of the election as the votes garnered by Audu were not transferable. The party further argued that Audu’s votes died with him.
However, INEC insisted on going ahead with the supplementary poll and the APC was left with no other option than to nominate the first runner up in its governorship primary election, Bello, as Audu’s substitution.
As expected, Bello was declared winner of the poll after the supplementary election. His party, APC, garnered 6,885 votes to bring its total votes to 247,752, having polled 240,857 in the November 21 election. The PDP candidate (Wada) scored 5,363 to take his total votes to 204,877 votes. He had earlier garnered 199, 514 votes.
Despite INEC’s declaration of Bello as Governor-elect, the Audu/Faleke campaign organisation described the supplementary election that produced him as “unnecessary and a complete waste of tax payers’ money’’ and headed for the tribunal to challenge it. Wada also challenged the outcome of the election and return of Bello, joining APC and INEC as respondents.
But ruling on the two motions praying it to halt the inauguration, the tribunal said though it had jurisdiction to hear the case contrary to insinuations, the motions were not contained in the original petitions as it was merely a motion on notice.
With that, Bello mounted the stage today as the youngest elected governor in Nigeria’s political history. He was 40 years old then.
Among the strategies he rolled out then was reorganisation of the state’s civil service to make it more efficient and productive. He also promised to immediately ensure massive industrialization to create employment for Kogites and to harness the mineral potentials across the state in order to improve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state and its economy.
But, almost four years down the line, most indigenes of the state believe that Bello’s lofty dream of taking Kogi to the next level has remained a mirage. From one crisis to another, the state has been described by many as a study in leadership failure.
While Bello has persistently admonished those he described as detractors to allow his government to focus on its goal of a better Kogi for its citizens, analysts kept reminding him that the deterioration of any administration begins with the decay of the principle on which it was founded.
Echoes of that counsel are reverberating in the Confluence State as Bello goes into poll though the governor said his declaration for a second term came after consultations with the leadership of his party both at the national and state levels and pressure from the people of the state on him to seek re-election.
Besides what seems a replay of the 2015 contest, Bello’s main opponent – Musa Wada, an engineer from the majority Igala ethnic stock of the state – has close links to two former governors of the state. He is ex-Governor Wada’s sibling and an in-law to former Governor Ibrahim Idris.
Interestingly, the younger Wada trounced his brother – Ex-Governor Wada and his brother in-law – Abubakar Ibrahim – in the PDP governorship primary.
Bayelsa: Will APC turn the table against PDP?
The Bayelsa governorship poll also promises to be interesting as former political allies square against themselves. The poll is also likely to be a two-horse race given the strength of the PDP and APC in the oil-rich state.
While the ruling PDP in the state is fielding Senator Douye Diri, who presently represents Bayelsa Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, APC’s candidate is Chief David Lyon.
Diri defeated 19 other aspirants to emerge the PDP candidate. One of the 21 aspirants, Talford Ongolo, stepped down from the race on the eve of the primary election.
The senator polled a total of 561 votes ahead of a former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, who came second with 365 votes.
Keniebi Okoko, son of a former National President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof, Kimse Okoko, came third with 142 votes.
Lyon, on his part, emerged as APC’s candidate by polling 42,138 votes to defeat five other aspirants – Mrs. Desiye Nsirim (1,533), Chief Ebitimi Amgbare (633), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri (571), Prof Ongoebi Etebu (564) and Prince Preye Aganaba (354) in a direct primary election.
Already, tension is brewing and the fear is that the poll may go the way of that of December 5, 2015, which was characterised by violence.
Governor Dickson, who recently reasoned along this line, acknowledged that the battle for his successor is going to be a defining moment for the state.
His words: “The last governorship election is still fresh in the memories of Bayelsans. It was more than an election, it was a war. The 2019 governorship may not be any different. The stakes are high as some persons are desperate to capture the state regardless of how unpopular they are among the people.
“In their desperate bid to launch a deadly come back, they have begun to gradually disrupt security architecture in the state. This they have done by using their privileged positions against the people. In 2019, they are expected to be more daring but as always, Bayelsans know them and in line with true Ijaw spirit, the people are ready to repel every attempt to circumvent their will.”
It would be recalled that armed thugs had disrupted voting process on the election day in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state during the last governorship poll. This forced INEC to shift voting to the next day (December 6), but the rescheduled poll did not hold as the thugs prevented INEC from deploying officials and materials.
The electoral body had to declare the poll inconclusive as votes from the council were expected to be the decider, being the largest of the eight local government areas of the state.
The council then had 120,827 registered voters. Governor Seriake Dickson of the PDP, who was seeking a second term then, led in six of the seven local government areas initially declared. He polled 105,748 votes, while the candidate of the APC and a former governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva (now minister), won in only one and had 72,594 votes, a margin of 30,154 votes.
The impasse was resolved a week later, when both candidates returned to the poll, but it was the PDP that had the day. In what could be described as the stiffest governorship contest since the creation of the state in 1996, Dickson secured a second term by polling a total of 134,998 votes to defeat Sylva, who garnered 86,852 votes.
Traditionally, Bayelsa is a PDP state, but APC has of late made inroad into the state. The centre’s ruling party seized the opportunity of the 2019 polls to win a senatorial seat, two out of the five House of Representatives seats as well as pockets of state Assembly seats.
Besides the parties’ strength, there is no doubt that election is going to be a proxy war between two political archrivals – Dickson and Sylva. Senator Diri is believed to be Dickson’s preferred candidate, while Lyon is Sylva’s anointed, which informs why he defeated Lokpobiri, who is a former senator and immediate past minister of State Agriculture and Rural Development.
With few hours to the polls, there is no doubt that both sides will deploy all they have in their respective arsenal to either consolidate on what they have or extend frontiers as whichever way the pendulum swings in both states will further strengthen their respective confidence ahead of the 2023 general election.
Secondus tasks security operatives on fairness
National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has called on security agencies particularly the military to allow the people of Bayelsa and Kogi States vote their choice candidates in Saturday’s governorship elections.
Secondus, who condemned the needless killing of a voter in Nembe, Bayelsa State on Wednesday, urged security operatives to exhibit high sense of professionalism in their conduct during the elections.
In a statement by his media adviser, Ike Abonyi, the PDP National Chairman said that the disqualification of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Bayelsa State is a sign that God does want continued bloodletting of innocent citizens.
“Nigerians expect all stakeholders in the Bayelsa election to see divine hand in the disqualification of APC out of the race and respect it. That is a consequence of impunity and it should send a signal to all,” he stated.
He said that from inception APC knew that it was not wanted in Bayelsa State and accused the party of heating up the state to frighten the people from voting
“Even before the voting, God has shown his mighty hands and cleared the violent prone APC out of the race,” he said.
Secondus also accused Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, of using violence to scare away voters and warned security agencies against voter intimidation on election day.
Delist APC from ballot, PDP tells INEC
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately delist the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the ballot for Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The party said this was necessitated by two court judgements that disqualified the APC candidate, David Lyon and his running mate from contesting the election.
PDP in a statement yesterday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, told the electoral umpire that any vote cast for the APC in the election would be a wasted vote since the court judgements have made it clear that the APC is not in the election.
The statement read in part: “The first was the judgement disqualifying the APC candidates over the presentation of false documents by the deputy governorship candidate, Biobarakuma Degi Eremienyo, which was followed by another judgement, nullifying the entirety of the APC primary that produced the candidates.
“It is therefore trite in law that given the circumstances that have entangled the candidature of the APC, the party, accordingly, has no place in the November 16 governorship election and cannot lay claim to any vote.”
The party, however, said that notwithstanding the disqualification, Lyon and other APC leaders should be questioned over Wednesday’s attack that led to the death of PDP supporters in Nembe.
It described the attack as a crime against humanity, which must not be politicized under any guise.
“Information available to the PDP shows that the attackers were known supporters of the APC, who have also been seen on several occasions in functions with APC leaders including the disqualified candidates.
“Our party therefore stands in vehement rejection of any attempt to politicize the attack, insisting that the masterminds, facilitators and executors must be swiftly brought to book on the full terms prescribed by our criminal laws,” the statement added.
APC to Bayelsans: Disregard judgement against our candidate
•High Court nullifies APC primaries
•Appeal orders stay of execution
The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged the people of the state not be deterred by the judgement of the Bayelsa State High Court presided by Justice Jane Inyang, which disqualified its candidate, David Lyon.
The alternate Director General of the David Lyon Campaign Organization, Prof. Seiyefa Brisibe, who gave the charge yesterday, said the judgement does not hold water and therefore should be disregarded.
This is as a Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, also yesterday, nullified the governorship primaries that produced Lyon as the candidate of the APC for this weekend’s poll in the state.
Prof. Birisibe, who addressed the media in Yenagoa, urged the people not to panic, saying that the party has appealed the judgement against APC candidates.
He noted that the governorship candidate of the party, David Lyon and his running mate, Degi Eremienyo are on the ballot for the election.
His words: “Our opponents are actually jittery because of the acceptance of our candidate because testimonies abound. So, people will want to do anything that will scuttle the peace of the state.
“Everybody that desire peace in the state should not worry. Your preferred candidate and his deputy are on the ballot. We have done everything procedurally to make sure that the judgement doesn’t stand. So, come out en mass and vote for APC.”
Prof. Birisibe said that prior to the judgement, the APC governorship candidate has been endorsed by groups and individuals including ordinary men, women and youths across the state owing to his selfless services to the people.
He assured of a better Bayelsa ahead for the people, adding that “the needful has been done. Come out en masse and vote. We must take this state to a platform of sustainable development. We must take this state to a platform where we not only have electricity.”
According to him, the party’s campaign had shown the love that the people have for Lyon, noting that they were enthused at how the APC’s flag bearer helped their children out of drug addiction, criminality and other vices.
Delivering judgement on a suit filed by Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, which challenged the conduct of the September 4 governorship primary of the APC, Justice Jane Inyang held that the exercise was conducted outside the rules of the party.
She further held that since the process was conducted in violation of the party’s constitution and guidelines as clearly spelt out for the conduct of governorship primaries, none of the aspirants should be fielded as the party’s candidate.
She therefore restrained the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), from including Lyon as the APC candidate in the governorship election.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal in Abuja has granted APC a stay of execution on the judgement delivered by the Federal High Court nullifying the primary of the party.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timpre Sylva, who disclosed this at a news conference in Yenagoa, yesterday, said APC will participate in the governorship poll.
His words: “I must tell you that the judgement nullifying the primary was clearly a bias one with all due respect to the judiciary. So, I have come to address you because we have good news for the people of Baylesa. The court in Abuja has granted us stay of execution.
“That means, we are fully as a party in the position of contesting this election. Because we know that the people of Bayelsa are seriously behind us and we will win the election.
“Everyone in Bayelsa knows that APC has the majority in the state and if there is an election today, it is clear even to blind and the deaf that APC will win. The electorate should go en-masse and vote the candidature of the APC, Mr David Lyon,” the minister said.
Court asked to disqualify Wada over alleged forgery
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has been asked to disqualify the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr. Musa Wada, for tomorrow’s governorship election in Kogi State over alleged forgery of his school certificate.
The claimant, one Femi Joseph, had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1146/2019 dragged the PDP, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Wada before the court.
The suit was instituted by way of an originating summons at the registry of the court on September 27, shortly after the publication of Forms CF001 (particulars of persons seeking election to office) of all candidates in the Kogi gubernatorial election by INEC.
The claimant through his counsel, Mike Enahoro submitted that by virtue of Section 31(5) & (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), he reasonably believes that the information supplied by the PDP candidate in both his Form CF001 and the attached First School Leaving Certificate as to his primary school education were false.
He therefore prayed the court to determine that the information was indeed false and on that basis, disqualify the plaintiff from contesting as the candidate of the PDP.
He prayed the court to determine whether having regard to the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 31
(5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (As Amended), 3rd Defendant’s INEC FORM CFOO1 and the Primary School Certificate, bearing Number: 910922, attached therewith and submitted to the 2nd Defendant by the 1st and 3rd Defendants, contain false information regarding the 3rd Defendant’s Primary School Certificate
He also wants the court to determine whether having regard to the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 31 (5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (As Amended), vis-a-vis 3rd Defendant’s INEC FORM CFOO1 and the Primary School Certificate, bearing Number: 910922, attached therewith and submitted to the 2nd Defendant by the 1st and 3rd Defendants, the 3rd Defendant is disqualified from contesting the Kogi State Governorship Election slated for 16th day of November, 2019, for submitting to the 2nd Defendant false information regarding the 3rd Defendant’s Primary School Certificate.
While the PDP as a party has responded to the said suit, Wada is yet to file any response.
Police withdraw security aides of govs, deputies
Ahead of tomorrow’s gubernatorial election in Kogi and Bayelsa states, the Nigeria Police Force, yesterday, said it will on Friday withdraw all its personnel attached to governors and their deputies until the conclusion of the exercise.
]Deputy Inspector General of Police, Abdulmajid Ali, who stated this during a pre-election press conference at the state police headquarters in Lokoja, Kogi State, also said other security personnel attached to politicians and government appointees will also be withdrawn.
The police boss said the force have undertaken security threat assessment in both Kogi and Bayelsa states and have identified possible risks, located trouble spots and classified individuals and groups that could constitute security challenges to the process.
He said: “The outcome of this intelligence-driven initiative guided our election deployment plans and informed our post-election security projections.
“Let me emphasize that our strategic plans are guided by our invaluable experiences in previous engagements and are designed to achieve four key objectives. First, is to create an environment that is secured and peaceful enough to give confidence to the political actors to undertake their campaigns and other political activities and for the citizens to freely exercise their electoral franchise.
“Second, is to emplace adequate security for all INEC personnel, Ad-Hoc staff – NYSC, agents, domestic and international observers during the entire process.”
He further said that by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, the Nigeria Police is the lead agency in the electioneering process.
He, however, added that the police mandate is being exercised in close conjunction with INEC leadership and other sister security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).
“In furtherance to these, we shall be deploying a total of 66,241 personnel on the election security operations in both Kogi and Bayelsa States. The breakdown shows that a total of 35,200 personnel will be deployed to Kogi State, while a total of 31,041 will be deployed to Bayelsa State.
“The police deployment shall involve the conventional police personnel who will be complemented by the special units including the Police Mobile Force, Special Protection Unit, Counterterrorism Unit, Special Forces, Intelligence Response Unit, Special tactical Squad, Mounted Troops and K9 Section, Airwing and the Marine detachment. There shall also be massive logistics mobilization to support the operations while complementary Forces shall be pooled from sister security agencies.”
“It must be emphasized that the heavy deployment of all these security operatives is to make the elections a success in the two States, and not to intimidate the electorates and the general public.
“It is noteworthy to also state in order to ensure an effective command and control framework, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu has ordered the posting of very senior police officers including Deputy Inspectors-General of Police (DIGs).
AIGs, CPs, DCPs and ACPs to all senatorial districts and Local Government Areas within the two states to monitor security arrangements during the elections.”
He said the force shall not hesitate to identify, isolate and bring to deserved justice any person or group of persons that attempt to threaten the democratic order in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
“Our message is being relayed here loud and clear that in securing the law-abiding citizens during the elections, we shall not hesitate to deploy our potent assets to deal firmly and decisively with electoral deviants. Consequently, we call on political actors and indeed all citizens to assist the Police and other law enforcement agencies in sustaining the gains we have recorded as a nation in our democratic journey.”
APC state chairmen back Oshiomhole, urge Progressive Govs Forum to sack DG
The Forum of State Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has thrown its weight behind their National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in the face off with the Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Mr. Salihu Lukman, who is calling for his resignation.
The Forum in a statement issued in Abuja Thursday and jointly signed by its Chairman, Ali Bukar Dalori and Secretary, Mr. Ben Nwoye, told the APC governors to sack Lukman from his position as the Director-General of the Progressive Governors Forum.
The APC state chairmen said they are satisfied with the leadership of the current National Working Committee (NWC) led by Oshiomhole.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of state chairmen of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been drawn to a statement credited to one Salihu Lukman, who claimed to be the Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum.
“We have decided to ignore his crass display of ignorance in the past, but as stakeholders in the progressive party, we find his actions and comments very suspicious and one that cannot be said that is coming from anyone close to the APC family.
“The position of the National Chairman of our great party is not a child’s play and we cannot allow it to be demeaned by questionable characters like Salihu Lukman who as it seems is being used by some disgruntled elements and even the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with a view to causing disaffection in our great party and we cannot continue to condone that.”
Bayelsa, Kogi guber: Atiku calls for free, fair elections
Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has enjoined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure free and fair elections in Saturday’s governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
Atiku in a statement by his media office, advised electorate in the two states to vote wisely by electing capable hands to steer the affairs of their states.
He told them to take serious interest in the choices they make as they cast their votes, and urged PDP members to use the power of their overwhelming strength in those two states in ensuring that its flag remains standing in the Bayelsa State Government House.
According to him, the people of Kogi State should “begin to have a feel of better life under a PDP administration.”
He reminded the voters that the senatorial election in Kogi West is equally crucial, and said they should to turn out in their numbers to defend the seat.
The former Vice President told the people that the leadership of the PDP has abiding confidence in the voters in Kogi West senatorial election, adding that “the choices before them is between a continuation of quality representation at the Senate and a promise of meaningless change.”
Atiku also called on all political actors to exhibit necessary decorum and sportsmanship.
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