As the clock ticks towards next year’s governorship election in Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki looks unstoppable in brushing off perceived bumps on the tortuous path ahead of his second term bid, CAJETAN MMUTA reports
or Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, he does not require any more trumpeters, having tactfully passed through the thick and thin of political training. He had watched his predecessor (now National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, hold sway as governor of the Heart Beat state from 2007 to November 2016.
There is also no doubt that the taciturn Obaseki, by now must have had his feet on the ground, having lately come face to face with the turbulence associated with power, influence and authority. But, determined to etch his name on the sands of time, the governor has since assumption of office kept track aimed at realizing his vision, mission and policy thrusts towards achieving set goals of living up to the promise of his administration to Edo people.
He has vehemently refused to be distracted in all circumstances and to do away with the old order as regards governance. Some analysts are of the opinion that the governor is right in his resolve to toe the right path in line with global best practices and standards and not yield to the whims and caprices of self-styled political demi-gods, part of what has pitched him against his predecessor.
While political war mongers and those opposed to Obaseki’s government keep sharpening their bows and arrows ahead of the epic battle come 2020 in the state, the governor in his undeterred poise has, to the cheery admiration of Edo citizens, enormous projects meant to put smiles on the faces of all residents as his bragging right.
The APC led government in Edo State under Obaseki has, no doubt, carved a niche for itself with visible reforms in all sectors. These are noticeable in massive road construction that cut across the 18 local government areas and three senatorial districts of the state and improvement in the standard of education through e-education that has brought enormous fortunes to teaching and learning through the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme.
Also, the state, now parades itself as the industrial hub in the South-South with the establishment of industrial parks and Benin-Gelegele Seaport, production center, commendable boost in agriculture, enthronement of harmony in the state’s justice system, effective civil service and many more.
Added to these is the regular payment of workers’ salaries as pensions to retirees. The security architecture of the state has equally improved to guarantee safety and protection of residents at all times while making the state investors friendly as well as for other businesses to thrive.
More so, the regular ritual choruses of “we no go gree, we no go gree” by aggrieved workers, labour unions and market women over minor disputes have not only ceased, but completely disappeared in all the sectors, agencies and parastatals.
The health sector is not left out in this regard with the existence of effective service delivery system and needed facilities in place to meet the health needs of people of the state.
In the governance system, the administration has continued to cut unnecessary costs and expenditure to meet demands, while the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state and councils has tremendously appreciated.
It is not surprising, therefore, the endless flow of calls and endorsements by various groups, individuals including traditional rulers drawn from across the state for Governor Obaseki to seek re-election for a second term in office.
The people are convinced that Obaseki, as a steward, has judiciously dispensed the little resources that accrue to the state towards delivering on his campaign promises. For the governor, to whom much is given, much is also expected and it must not be business as usual to fritter away what belongs to the people.
Admitted that life is full of battles, but the governor is no longer a small fry in politics and cannot be dismissed by a wave of hands, having garnered the tough and thick skin to weather storms. Added to this is his firm grip on the intricacies of governance, adequate support base and financial muscles to put off likely resistances and match possibly political tuffs or bumps likely to rear their heads on his way to the Dennis Osadebe Avenue Government House Benin City.
With the support of forces like the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie; Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu; Chief of Staff, Hon. Taiwo Akerele; former Political Adviser to Oshiomhole, Mr. Charles Idahosa and some top chiefs of Benin royal palace, among several others, it is strongly believed that the 2020 project for Obaseki is certain.
Unarguably, the battle next year is neither going to be an easy contest nor a child’s play, but Obaseki seems set for those out to scuttle his second term bid. He had in June this year sacked eight commissioners, appointed and inaugurated another eight new ones as replacement.
While many said the move was targeted at Oshiomhole, the Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Communication Strategy told New Telegraph that it was “normal and we are not targeting anybody. It did not stem from any bitterness. The government is trying to reposition itself and restructure for better delivery of democratic dividends to the people of Edo state.”
Also, Obaseki, last week showed about 265 Senior Special Assistants (SSAs) and Special Assistants (SAs) drawn from the state’s 192 wards, 18 councils and three senatorial districts the way out and promised to make fresh appointments in 30 days.
A statement by the SSG (Ogie), said: “This development is in line with efforts to reorganise the governance structure to enhance efficiency in service delivery to Edo people. Fresh appointments will be announced within the next 30 days.”
While Ogie added that the state government offers its immense gratitude to the outgoing assistants for their service and assures of continued cordial relations in the years ahead, it was learnt that some of the sacked aides were members of the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM) believed to be a strong loyalists of Oshiomhole.
The state chapter of the APC had last week threatened to take decisive and concrete actions against the EPM and its purported members. The party noted that the existence of the alien group is not supported by its constitution.
Chairman of the party in the state, Anselm Ojezua, in a statement warned that the party would not allow the “reckless antics of shameless and selfish individuals to dictate the fortunes of the party.” He further explained that the decision was aimed at preserving and protecting its integrity since the group has refused to desist from associating their nefarious activities with the state APC.
But the leadership of the EPM in a counter reaction described the threat by the APC in the state as an empty one. The group also dared the APC chairman in the state “to do his worst.”
Co-convener of the EPM and former Attorney General of the state, Hon. Henry Idahagbon said: “He (Ojezua), has never won his unit, ward let alone his LGA. He’s a serial failure. We in the EPM dare him to do his worst.”
But, as the dust of suspense over Obaseki’s second term pervades, the governor declared recently that he deserves a second term in office because he has fulfilled most of his promises to Edo people and also needs to consolidate his developmental strides in the state.
He stressed that his administration and cabinet members are focused on mental, not stomach infrastructure. He also emphasized that his second term in office is “not negotiable.”
Obaseki stated this when he played host to members of the Benin Unity League at the government house in Benin. He noted that “no individual can determine who will become governor, nly God and the people can make the decision.”
Speaking further, the governor said his interest to continue in office is for the right reasons.
His words: “I have said it clearly and I told my cabinet members that second term for me is non-negotiable. I am demanding it because I deserve it and I think I have earned it. We need to have it so we can continue what we are doing today.
“I want to assure you that this is a fight in which we will prevail. We will fight and succeed. If anybody thinks I will back out, he must be day-dreaming because it is not my fight; it is a fight for the right purpose. I am not going to back off because I know victory is sure.”
He added that nobody can accuse him of implementing a wrong policy, adding that the accusations had been on him not focusing on stomach infrastructure.
“We earn less today than we did in 2016, when we came into power, so where is the money to waste? We know how much we inherited as debt; we have to service them. Some people sit and say we should focus on stomach infrastructure. I said no, that I will rather focus on mental infrastructure,” he said.
President of the League, Dr. Gregory Osa, in his speech said the visit was to join other Edo sons and daughters to reject the mischief in some quarters aimed at prematurely pulling the governor out of office, describing the move as “borne out of selfish motives.”
Osa added: “You are providing an enabling environment to make Edo an industrial hub. We are particularly interested in your push to develop the Benin River Port and the Benin Airport. You will not only win the battle; you will win the war.”
As it stands, both the state and national leaderships of the APC and their supporters need not be reminded that next year remains most critical and therefore indulgence in any unholy game may spell doom for both the state and the party should caution be thrown to the wind.
Unfortunate as the crisis to control the Anthony Enahoro legislature may seem, the stakeholders in the state must set aside all sentiments and selfish desires and put their house in order, ensure a united front and allow peace to rein, else they may end up licking their wounds from the hard hit of ever ready opposition in the state.
APC to Dickson: We’re not distracted by your tricks
A head of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has dismissed as habitual deception and mudslinging an allegation by Governor Seriake Dickson that the party was about to form “a government of criminals and cultists” in the state.
Dickson had made the claim on Monday in Yenagoa at the inauguration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship election campaign team.
But, in a statement yesterday in Yenagoa, APC dismissed the claim as “Dickson’s normal, customary and habitual trickery, meant to hide his nervousness by defaming the opponent, when jittery and faced with tough political opposition.”
The statement signed by APC’s State Publicity Secretary and Secretary of the Media and Publicity Committee of party’s 2019 Governorship Campaign Council, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo, said: “At its elemental level, Governor Seriake Dickson’s deception machine has essentially run on creating falsehood around formidable opponents as a ploy to justify intended poll rigging and violence.
“The most basic step in this criminal strategy, as the whole world is witnessing currently, has always been to identify intimidating rivals they cannot stand in a fair poll, cast mud at them, and then activate an electoral manipulation process, using thugs, corrupt officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and some dishonest security personnel.
“The immoral scheme had worked for Dickson in the past, but it will never work again. Bayelsa people have come to know Dickson and his gang in PDP for what they are: a band of tricksters devoid of ideas and integrity.
“If not, why would a serious politician spend all his energy calling out and singing the name of an opponent at a campaign launch when the electorate are eager to hear what the one seeking their vote has in stock for them. As always, this demonstrates the emptiness of Dickson and his gang.
Bayelsa guber: PDP, APC clash at INEC’s stakeholders’ meeting
Tampers rose Wednesday at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, to interact with political parties and civil society groups, ahead of the November 16 governorship election in state.
The two leading parties in the state, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), disagreed sharply over existence of internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in the state.
The event, which began in a peaceful atmosphere, was later disrupted for about five minutes, forcing the organisers to hurriedly bring it to a close to prevent unpleasant circumstances.
Trouble began when a representative of the PDP, Francis Doukpola, in his presentation, drew the attention of INEC to displaced persons from some communities in Nembe Local Government Area whom he said, are in IDPs camps on Yenagoa, due to electoral violence.
According to him: “For me the worst election we had in Bayelsa was the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections. We had very bitter experience, as a result of that election.
“I regret to inform you that half of the communities in Bayelsa now are in IDPs (camps); they are no longer in their communities simply because they belong to certain political party.
“Efforts to return those people to their communities so that they can exercise their franchise in the forthcoming election is beginning yielding result.
“The name of the community is Basambiri in Nembe Local Government Area.”
But he was immediately interrupted by Dennis Otiotio of APC, who disputed the claim. Other political parties present took sides, depending on their interest.
Attempts by security agencies and INEC officials to calm frayed nerves failed, forcing the organisers to call for the national anthem to be played.
Otiotio had earlier in his presentation, accused the Chairman of the Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Bayelsa State, Eneyi Ziduogha of non-consultation.
He also demanded for centralisation of security personnel deployed for an election, and for proper training of INEC presiding officers deployed for elections.
“I have discovered that most of the innocent mistakes leading to litigations in an election were committed by ad hoc staff,” Otiotio observed.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu in his remarks, decried incidences of violence that characterized previous elections in the state.
Cabinet: Abiodun knows what he’s doing – Daniel
Former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has expressed satisfaction with the leadership style of the incumbent governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, saying the state was progressing under him.
Daniel, who downplayed the issue of non-appointment of commissioners by Abiodun after almost five months in power, declared that the governor “knows what he is doing.”
He spoke on Tuesday night shortly after paying a courtesy visit to Abiodun at the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
It was the first time since leaving office in 2011 that Daniel would visit the governor’s office.
Fielding questions from reporters, the former governor said he was happy that Abiodun had sustained the momentum of governance.
He submitted that the state requires a governor with Abiodun’s temperament, urging people of the state to encourage and support him.
Daniel explained that he and the governor discussed several issues but ruled out any discussion on the issue of commissioners.
There’s hope Nigeria will attain greatness – Moghalu
Chief George Moghalu, a former National Auditor of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was recently appointed the Managing Director of Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). In this interview, he speaks on his vision for the agency and other issues. JOHNCHUKS ONUANYIM reports
What do you make of your appointment as the Managing Director of Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA)?
I want to thank Mr. President for the confidence in me and finding me worthy to serve the nation in this capacity and I want, with a firm commitment to assure him that I will not let him down and I will not let Nigerians down. I am determined to leave a mark by the time I would have finished my term in NIWA.
For me, it is a very great responsibility and I want to be remembered after my tenure for what I would have contributed to building on the achievements of my predecessors in office. I am among those groups of Nigerians, who believe that all will always be well with our nation. What we require is a re-dedication and to to serve with commitment. For me, it is a new dawn.
What do you know of NIWA before your appointment?
NIWA is more of a regulatory agency in charge of the waterways in the country. I believe that if we explore the waterways of Nigeria, it has great potentials in the area of water transport. The simplest I can say now is that it will reduce the burden on Nigerian roads. If our waterways are opened, the channels are free and secured; you can open the scope of passenger traffic. It is economical and it goes round the country. A good percentage of the goods that arrive the port in Lagos go to the South-East and are transported by road. It puts great pressure on the road. But if we have a clear waterway transport system, all these goods can be received in Lagos and moved to the inland ports.
We have a completed river port today in Onitsha and a jetty being built in Oguta. We also have a completed port in Baro and some of the goods going to the North can be moved by the waterways to Baro and to other areas where we have functional jetties and ports. It will open up the waterways and if these waterways are opened, you see that communities and other settlements along those routes will start being developed. It reduces tremendously, the pressure you have on the roads. If the agency engages major critical stakeholders, it will come to a point when cement and other heavy equipment are moved by river and they still get to where they are meant to go. When we do that, we would have succeeded in reducing the pressure on Nigerian roads.
To what extent do you think this can be done?
We can develop it to a point where passenger fleet can still be enhanced. The beautiful thing is that it provides opportunity for massive employment. It is capital intensive and we have to make a huge capital investment to make it very functional. It is one area that if we make it functional, it will help in reopening our economy. It is my intention to create an opportunity to engage critical stakeholders so that we all can discuss these issues and come to a point of understanding and see the potentials lying fallow that we can explore for the benefit of our nation.
As an agency we have challenges. It is not as easy as we are saying it. Sometimes, you talk about desalting of the channels; you talk about the security challenges of these waterways. But these are issues that are surmountable and issues that can be addressed. With collaboration with sister agencies of government, I am sure these issues can be addressed and water transport will then become the favourite of the Nigerian people. I think that will help our economy.
What challenges do you think that poor water transport have caused to the economy?
If you look at the gridlock we are suffering today in Apapa, if we had a functional waterway system, a good number of these goods stocked there, building demurrage, frustrating importers would have gone to their destination through the river ports. I am aware that about 90 per cent or more of the materials being used to construct the Second Niger Bridge come by the river port and come through the waterways to Port Harcourt to Onitsha. If Julius Berger can do it, why not others. We need critical stakeholders who will now invest in that sector of our economy just like they are doing in the road transport. You can get them to understand the potentials in the water transport.
Insecurity: Reps unveil plans to boost army operations
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Army has announced its decision to visit army formations across the country to assess their state. PHILIP NYAM examines the implications of this resolution
arely a week after the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, inaugurated the 105 standing committees of the House of Representatives; the committee on Army led by Hon. Abdulrasak Sa’ad Abubakar (APC, Adamawa) announced the decision to embark on the tour of Nigerian Army formations across the country to acquaint themselves with the challenges confronting the force.
There is no doubt that the Nigerian Army is the largest component of the nation’s military and it often bears the brunt of the incessant security challenges being faced by the country. The Army fought the civil war to keep Nigeria one and since the fight against Boko Haram started, the Army has been at the forefront of the offensive against insurgency.
Operations Lafiya Dole, which is the arrowhead of the war against Boko Haram, has done so much in protecting the territorial integrity of the nation and sustainenance of peace, especially in the North-East.
According to Army operations media coordinator, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, “troops in the various operational theatres across the country had continued to decimate and frustrate activities of criminal elements in line with the resolve of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai.”
The Nigerian Army is functionally organised into combat arms, which are infantry and armoured; the combat support arms, which are artillery, engineers and signals; the combat support services comprise medical, supply and transport, ordinance and finance.
Others include the military police, intelligence, physical training, chaplains, public relations and band. Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) located in Minna is responsible for doctrinal, training and combat development with an R&D outfit. There are 17 Corps Training Schools and a Nigerian Army College of Logistics (NACOL).
Only last week, the Army high command announced that in its effort to combat insecurity across the nation, it is set to commence simultaneous routine training nationwide. Part of the operations include Operation Ayem Akpatuma II, which has been slated for the North-Central and parts of North-West states in 1 and 3 Divisions Area of Responsibilities (AOR) including Headquarters Command Army Records, Guards Brigade and 707 Special Forces Brigade; Egwu Eke IV will be carried out, as usual, in the South-East in 82 Division AOR, while Crocodile Smile IV will take place in the South-South and parts of South-West.
Similarly, Operation Positive Identification will be carried out across the nation to track bandits, ethnic militia, cattle rustlers and other criminals. Also, as part of the exercises, the Nigerian Army Women Corps will stage a robust show of force/confidence building patrols in some selected locations in the country.
According to the Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, to consolidate on the existing cordial civil-military relations, there will be elaborate civil/military cooperation line of activities such as free medical outreach, educational outreach, rehabilitation of dilapidated roads, hospitals, schools and old people’s homes.
Reports say “despite a disproportionate emphasis on the materiel and sophistication of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and despite possessing some formidable hardware, the Army has been hamstrung by technical deficiency and an exceptionally poor standard of maintenance.
“Its overabundance of foreign suppliers, including Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, the former Soviet Union, the United States and the United Kingdom, has also complicated logistics. Calculating the size and scope of replacement inventories alone is impossible given the menagerie of equipment in use.”
With this picture painted about the Nigerian Army, it is not out of place for the House committee on Army to undergo the tour to really find out what the Army needs to effectively carry out its statutory responsibility.
If the National Assembly could appropriate for the Army, the relevant committee should visit their facilities including those who are in the North-East facing Boko Haram to assess the state of their conditions.
In fact, the presence of members of the National Assembly in the war front has the potentials of boosting the morale of the soldiers who are in the trenches.
Hence, addressing the inaugural meeting of the committee at the National Assembly, Hon. Namdas said: “Honourable members, you will recall that the 2020 budget proposal was presented yesterday by Mr. President. We are going to hit the ground running by immediately embarking on a joint committee tour with our Senate counterparts to selected Army formations to acquaint ourselves with the challenges faced by our officers and men.
“I believe by taking an on-the-spot assessment of the formations, we will be better equipped to appreciate the challenges and acquire the wherewithal to appropriate funds for the Army.”
He also commended the Nigerian Army for its good showing in the fight against insurgency. “I wish to, on behalf of the committee and the House of Representatives commend the Nigerian Army and the entire Nigerian military for the successes recorded so far in the fight against insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling among others,” he said.
Namdas also applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to routing out all manner of security threats in the nation.
His words: “We thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his avowed commitment to stamp out Boko Haram and activities of other terrorist groups in the nation. We want to assure you that the House Committee on Army under my leadership would do everything within its powers to ensure that capacity building for members of the committee is strengthened so as to prepare us for the challenges ahead.”
He told members of the committee that the Nigerian Army is the biggest component of the nation’s armed forces and enjoined them to consider their appointment on the committee as a call to service.
“My dear colleagues, it is important to know that the Nigerian Army is the largest component of the Nigerian Armed Forces and it bears the brunt of the nation’s security challenges. So, we have a huge responsibility placed on our shoulders as a committee.
“We are all aware of the security challenges the nation has faced in the last few years, which is a source of concern to all of us. They require our utmost attention. I, therefore, implore you to consider this onerous assignment as a call to national service. We have to be proactive and patriotic while discharging our responsibilities,” he said.
Speaking further, the House committee chairman enjoined his colleagues “to take the issues of oversight and referrals very seriously. It is my belief that proper oversight will reposition the Army towards achieving their targets with ease.’
He assured that the committee would work towards “the full implementation of the House Legislative Agenda. The Legislative Agenda has identified sustained economic growth as the key to effectively addressing other national problems of inequality, insecurity and conflicts.
He added: “We are prepared to work with all stakeholders to secure our nation and guarantee economic growth, development and job creation. As you are aware, no nation thrives in a state of insecurity.”
The House committee on Army certainly has a lot to do because the Nigerian Army needs financial and moral support to work for the country. Therefore, the committee should ensure that the Army is well funded so that sundry rumours of out-dated equipment or non-payment of salaries or allowances of men who are in the North-East sacrificing for the nation will be a thing of the past.
The committee also has an obligation to look into allegations of some senior officers coveting funds meant for arms purchase into personal use. It is expected that at the end of the tour, the committee would present before the House comprehensive information on the true state of the Nigerian Army and concrete recommendations that could assist in maintaining a stronger and efficient military.
Bayelsa Assembly: Politics of Speaker’s impeachment
Bayelsa Assembly: Politics of Isenah’s impeachment
PAULINE ONYIBE reports on the power play that characterised recent impeachment of the Speaker of Bayelsa State Assembly, Hon. Tonye Isenah
mpeachment of speakers, which has been a common occurrence in Bayelsa State House of Assembly since 1999, played out again on September 30, when Hon. Tonye Isenah joined the growing list of presiding officers of the state legislative house to be relieved of their position.
Since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999, the 23-year old state has witnessed series of impeachments of speakers of its legislature. From the first to the sixth Assembly, it has been gale of impeachments of speakers.
Among speakers of the state Assembly, who were ousted within the period include Heineken Lokpobiri, Boyelayefa Debekeme, Peremobowei Ebebi, Friday Kombowei Benson and now Isenah, who did not spend up to six months in office.
No doubt, political drama has always surrounded such impeachments. For instance, Lokpobiri was sacked over what his colleagues then termed as “his growing influence,” while Boyelayefa Debekeme was removed because he opposed the impeachment of then Governor Diepriye Alamieyeseigha.
However, the recent ouster of Isenah assumed a frightening dimension as gunshots, not only rocked the Assembly Complex the day he was impeached, but his removal caused pandemonium across the state. And for Isenah, that day will ever remain green in his heart.
It was like every other day as he had announced to the Assembly staff on Friday September 27 that he was going to resign as speaker of the Sixth Assembly the following Monday morning.
He had sat at the hallowed chamber, where he presided plenary according to a video that leaked afterwards because journalists were chased out of the hallowed chamber that morning. The video showed that there was a sitting contrary to a report that there was no sitting before the second sitting, at which he was impeached.
But immediately he finished addressing his colleagues, he hit the gavel three times and adjourned the house sine die without any motion or any seconder of the motion, an action which generated controversy in the chamber.
What ensued shortly were gunshots immediately the sergeant-at-arm escorted him out of the chambers. Isenah, however, hurriedly left the arena with the mace with the help of some of his supporters. But people wondered why he refused to step down after announcing to that he was going to resign on September 30.
Information had it that he was persuaded by his constituents not to resign even when it was alleged that he had a nocturnal meeting with the Restoration Caucus of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, where it was agreed that he should step down immediately Senator Douye Diri emerges as the party’s flag bearer for the November 16 governorship election as they are from the same senatorial district and local government.
The essence of the arrangement, according to political observers in the state was to pave the way for the incumbent governor, Seriake Dickson, to anoint his successor and in turn, remain relevant in the state’s politics after leaving office though he must, first, scale the hurdle posed by the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), David Lyon, who is backed by a former governor of the state and current Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.
Interestingly, Lyon is from the same Southern Ijaw, the local government of the current Speaker of the state Assembly, Monday Obolo, who Governor believes can checkmate the APC in that area.
Reacting to his impeachment, Isenah said anything done in the House without him will not hold water.
His words: “I presided over the sitting this morning and I didn’t preside as an impeached or a speaker that resigned. Anything that happens there without me reconvening the House is illegal. That is what I want the public to understand.
“Assembly is a different arm of government and that arm needs to be respected. The sergeant-at-arm escorted me out of the chamber, meaning that the House stands adjourned. Nobody can reconvene that House except me.”
On the claim that he agreed to resign after three months, Isenah said: “I never had any arrangement with anybody. Let them show me any document to that effect. I have not done anything wrong and I don’t see the reason why I should be asked to resign. So, I didn’t resign and I’m not resigning.”
He added: “Bayelsans should discountenance anything that anybody is saying. At the appropriate time, I will avail the public of what really happened.”
A source from his office then who preferred anonymity said they placed two blackmails against him that if he fails to resign, it means that he doesn’t want the governor to come from his local government and that he doesn’t want PDP to win in Southern Ijaw.
The source further disclosed that there was no agreement whatsoever that he will step aside if Diri becomes the flag bearer of the PDP, maintaining that those were just lies.
His words: “There was nothing like that. There was no agreement anywhere. That was just a plot by Diri. He does not like Isenah. His aim is to retire him politically and I know he won’t succeed. It has nothing to do with elections. It has nothing to do with winning Southern Ijaw. It has nothing to do with even him becoming governor. It is just Kolokuma fight.
“He believes that the young man is being loved by the people and he is not being loved. So, he has to silence him. But I think he started the fight too late. What he would have done is for him to wait until when he wins before starting the fight. You can’t force him to go and campaign for Diri.”
These assumptions, not withstanding, Governor Dickson believes that Isenah’s claims were non-issues and he has gone ahead to reconcile the erstwhile speaker – Isenah and his successor – Obolo.
After the impeachment that had 18 members of the House of Assembly in attendance, there was a heavy presence of security men continuously for four days until Friday, October 4, when the new speaker had his first sitting with Isenah sitting as an ordinary member.
However, the sitting was very peaceful and Isenah, who was in a sober mood, thanked the people of the state for the love they have so far shown to him.
He later wrote on his Facebook page: “Your love for me is immeasurable and will certainly not be taken for granted. He who fights and run away will certainly live to fight another day. It’s good to be a living hero than to be a dead hero. I love you all.
“Well, point made and lessons learnt. As the song writer will say: ‘Let it be, let it be, let it be.’ Apologies to those who will feel disappointed. Appreciation to all those who stood by me through this period.
“Special thanks to my worthy con stituents, friends and well-wishers for the show of love and support. When I gather my memoirs and documents for my story, a whole lot will be revealed. Life itself is a struggle. Great grace and God’s speed.”
No doubt, the battle for the Bayelsa speakership has been won and lost, but the question on the minds of many in the state is: Did members of the House follow due process in impeaching Isenah.
Section 92 sub-section(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), provides for how a speaker or his deputy could be removed.
It states: “The Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly shall vacate his office – (a) if he ceases to be a member of the House of Assembly otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of the House; (b) When the House first sits after any dissolution of House; or (c) if he is removed from office by a resolution of House of Assembly by the votes of not less than two-third majority of the members of the House.”
The constitution further states that: “Whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by one-third of the Members of the Assembly is presented to Clerk, stating cogent and satisfactory grounds that the Speaker or Deputy Speaker is guilty of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office detailed particulars of which shall be specified, the Clerk shall cause a copy of the notice to be served on the holder of the office and on each Member of the House within seven days, and shall also cause any statement made in reply to the allegation by the holder of the office to be served on each Member.
“Within fourteen days of the presentation of the Notice to the Clerk (whether or not any statement was made by the holder of the office in reply to the allegation contained in the allegation shall be investigated.
“A Motion of the House that the allegation be investigated shall not be declared as having been passed unless it is supported by at least votes of two-third majority of Members of the House.
“Within seven days of passing a Motion under the foregoing provisions of this Rule, the Speaker or the relevant Presiding Officer of the House shall be requested to appoint a panel of seven Members of the House.
“The holder of an office whose conduct is being investigated under this order shall have the right to defend himself in person or be represents by a Counsel of his choice.
“A panel appointed under this order shall have such powers and exercise its functions in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed by the House.
“Within three months of its appointment, report its findings to the House. Where the panel reports to the House that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.
“When the report of the panel is that the allegation against the office holders is proved, then within fourteen (14) days of the receipt of the report, the House shall consider the report and if by Motion of the House supported by not less than two-third majority of all the Members, the report of the panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.”
Based on this constitutional provision, the poser over the Bayelsa Assembly drama is: Was there any allegation against Isenah according to the rules and regulations guiding the house or was his removal politically motivated?
When New Telegraph sought clarification on the issue, a judge in the state, who didn’t want his name mentioned said: “The truth of the matter is that my current position does not allow me to grant a press interview. I would not exactly know which side is correct, but the claim is that the speaker sat and adjourned the House.
“He sat and adjourned the House sine die and the other side said the House sat properly and then a majority of the members decided to impeach him. If the contention of Isenah is correct that he had sat earlier and adjourned the House, then the House could not have been convened after that adjournment.
“I didn’t watch the video of the sitting, so everything I said will be on speculation. But before a House would be adjourned, there must be a motion and somebody will second it and if there is a contrary motion, the matter will be put to vote. But, if no motion was moved and no body seconded it, then sincerely, the thing was not done.”
Already, Governor Dickson and the state chapter of the PDP have congratulated the new speaker.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Fidelis Soriwei, described Obolo as a promising, young and vibrant political leader with the capacity to carry out the sensitive responsibility of presiding over the legislative arm of government.
Edo Crisis: Obaseki, planning to dump APC, says Oshiomhole
…accuses Edo CP of becoming political tool
Obaseki: Nobody attacked Oshiomhole
he battle for supremacy between Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, took another dimension yesterday, as the latter accused the governor of planning to dump the ruling party.
The accusation came on the heels of last Saturday’s alleged attack by some hoodlums on Oshiomhole’s residence in Benin City, Edo State capital.
The said attack has been a subject of controversy as the Edo State Government and the Commissioner of Police in the state have denied that such incident took place.
However, in a counter move, Oshiomole released a statement yesterday, alleging that the attack was part of a grand plot by Obaseki to blackmail him and set the people of the state against him.
According to APC national chairman, the governor intends to create disaffection and crisis in the state chapter of the party and probably dump it for another party ahead of next year’s governorship election in the state.
In the statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Simon Ebegbulem, and made available to newsmen, Oshiomhole accused Obaseki of being jealous of his popularity in the state, adding that he would always be at home with the people having performed creditably well as governor of the state.
The former Edo State governor alleged that Obaseki had been making frantic efforts to trail his movements any time he is in the state. He said that such moves were indications that the governor might be plotting something sinister against him.
“Talking about security, it is actually the governor who is making every effort to plunge the state into crisis and bloodshed. The last Saturday’s siege at the residence of the national chairman by his thugs was a good example.
“Before that incident, state government sponsored thugs have been harassing, intimidating APC members across the 18 local government areas because the APC leaders refused to adopt his second term aspiration. People are being sacked in their jobs everyday in the state.
“And we have it on good authority that the governor intends to create disaffection and crisis in the state APC and probably dump the party for another party. That is why he has embarked on this brigandary which Edo people will resist,” he said.
Oshiomhole charged Obaseki to stop blackmailing him and face governance, which according to him, was the reason he was elected into office.
His words: “It is sad that the governor in his usual style to blackmail the APC chairman now refers the hardworking youths of Edo State as thugs, forgetting that these same wonderful youths supported him during his election as governor.
“Right from Oshiomhole’s days in the labour movement, he has always been on the side of the people and therefore cannot abandon that to please a governor who believes he has monopoly of knowledge.”
Oshiomhole also accused the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Dan Mallam Muhammed, of becoming an easy tool in the hands of Obaseki and other desperate politicians in the state.
He expressed disappointment over the response of the commissioner of Police to the attack on his residence, describing it as an attempt at trivializing and rationalizing an incident that had serious implications for the safety of a former governor of the state.
“I don’t want to believe that the Edo State Police commissioner is gratuitously lending himself as a tool in the hands of some desperate and misguided politicians in Edo State whose pastime is to malign the reputation and public image of the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Oshiomhole.
“Apparently propelled by selfish interest, this tribe of politicians has unconscionably ensconced itself in the devious plot of feeding the people of Edo State with a misconstruction of Comrade Oshiomhole persona in order to galvanise negative public sentiments against him.
“As much as I try to refrain and restrain myself from joining issues with the Police, I feel obligated to call the commissioner out on his widely reported statement that Comrade Oshiomhole was not attacked.
“While stating a notorious fact, he had somewhat downplayed the very strong connection between Comrade Oshiomhole and his home that was attacked. Who were the thugs that laid siege to Oshiomhole’s house in the GRA with a view to attacking him?
“I want to believe that CP Muhammed is a super cop, who should not contradict himself on the facts of a matter that was writ-large and about which his men were seized of. Who, for instance, were the people that pursued the thugs who came to attack Oshiomhole, thinking that he was at home when they struck?
“Of course, they were policemen and some brave APC youths who got the information that the thugs had laid siege to the residence of Comrade Oshiomhole with a view to attacking him.
“Was it not the CP that sent his men to the place to restore law and order? If the CP had claimed there was nothing like an attack, how come he decided to beef up security around the APC national chairman’s residence?
“I even read where the Police claimed the people who went there were protesters. Are protests held in the night? The thugs laid siege to the residence of the national chairman of the ruling party at 8 p.m. My thinking is that by now the Police would be telling us about the number of arrests that they have made.
“After all, the “suspects”, purportedly pampered by the Police, had regrouped at Edo Hotel after they had escaped from the scene. Why were they not arrested by the Police at Edo Hotel?
“I know that the Edo State Government is making frantic effort to use the statement of the Police commissioner that Comrade Oshiomhole was not attacked to cover its evil plot and the shame it has brought to itself, but that effort had already fallen through in the face of a number of notorious facts,” the statement further read.
Meanwhile, Governor Obaseki has insisted that his predecessor, Oshiomhole, was never attacked in the state as being alleged and advised the APC leader to always notify the state government and security agencies any time he wished to visit Edo State.
Obaseki, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media, Communication and Public Affairs, Crusoe Osagie, said the former governor never informed his office, Commissioner of Police or Director of the Department of State Service (DSS), when he is on a visit to the state.
According to him, courtesy demands that Oshiomhole observes the necessary protocols, while visiting the state in order to enable the security agencies provide adequate security for him.
The governor maintained that he had no knowledge of the alleged attack on the residence of the APC national chairman, stating that the report of the State Commissioner of Police, Muhammed, should take precedence over any other report.
He called on government functionaries and political office holders to be circumspect about the issue and avoid making comments on the alleged attack against the former governor of the state.
It could be recalled that the Edo State governorship election slated for next year has pitched the state governor against the APC national chairman. There have been speculations that following the tussle between the two political gladiators over the control of the party in Edo State, Oshiomhole wants to stop Obaseki’s re-election, an allegation the APC national chairman has persistently disclaimed.
Obaseki insists no attack on Oshiomhole
… Says APC national chairman should observe protocols in state
The governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has insisted that the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was never attacked in the state as being alleged.
The governor also insist that the APC National Chairman and former governor of the sate should observe protocols while visiting Edo.
The governor, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media, Communication and Public Affairs, Crusoe Osagie, said the former governor never inform his office, Commissioner of Police or Director of the Department of State Service (DSS), while on visit to the state.
According to him, if the party chairman should do the needful while visiting the state there would be less acrimony.
The governor maintained that he has no knowledge of the alleged attack on the residence of the APC National Chairman, stating that the report of the State Commissioner of Police, DanMallam Muhammed should be more paramount than any other report.
He called on government functionaries and political office holders to be circumspect in commenting on the allegations of attack against the former governor of the State.
Oshiomhole’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Simon Ebegbulemu and the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu had on Sunday issued statements alleging attack on the APC national chairman at his residence in Benin city on Saturday.
The duo had accused the officials of the state governor of carrying out the attack against the National Chairman.
However, the Edo State Police Commissioner has come out to debunk the allegations.
Three tribes reject Lalong’s imposition of APC chairmen
The three indigenes tribes and original owners of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State, the Afizere, Anaguta and Berom have all rejected the imposition of the APC Candidates by Governor Simon Lalong as the Management Committee Chairmen of Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGCs.
The group, under name ‘Autochthonous Peoples of Jos’ which consists of the Afizere, Anaguta and Berom urged Governor Lalong to reverse the recent appointment of Management Committee Chairmen of Jos North, Jos South, Barking Ladi and Riyom local government areas of the state.
Addressing journalists in Jos, leader of the group, which comprises of the Berom, Afizere and Anaguta tribes, Hon. Mrs Theresa Kaze said the appointments were illegal and cannot be sustained under whatever guise.
Hon. Kaze, who was flanked by other members of the group, said they are prepared to die for their people and heritage just the same way Governor Lalong is prepared to die for President Buhari.
“We are equally prepared to die for our people and for our collective heritage just the same way Governor Lalong is prepared to die for President Buhari,” he said.
According to them said since Governor Lalong has said that the security situation had improved, he should direct the State Independent Electoral Commission to therefore conduct the elections in the four local government areas in the interest of peace, security and good governance.
Abiodun holds secret talks with Daniel, Isiaka
*Ogun PDP leaders visit gov, blast Amosun
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Tuesday, met with a former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, and the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2019 election, Prince Gboyega Isiaka.
The meeting held separately behind closed doors at the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
Similarly, Abiodun also held a secret meeting with some leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), led by the state Chairman, Chief Adebayo Dayo.
New Telegraph reports that it was the first time since leaving office in 2011 that Daniel would visit the governor’s office.
Meanwhile, the PDP has expressed optimism that Abiodun would perform well as the state’s helmsman.
Speaking after meeting the governor, the party chairman lauded him for accommodating opposition members “unlike the immediate past governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.”
Dayo was accompanied by Otunba Robert Adenaike, Chief Kola Sorinola and Dr Remi Bakare, who was the Director-General of Senator Buruji Kashamu’s 2019 governorship campaign under PDP.
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