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N’Delta Woes, Amnesty Not Key – Soyinka

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Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has said that the restiveness in the Niger Delta needs a holistic approach for it to be solved.

Soyinka said that the declaration of amnesty and financial reward alone cannot solve the agitation of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

He stated that what MEND has been struggling for is the restructuring of the nation to attain true federalism.

According to him, the aims of MEND and PRONACO are the same.

“The aims of MEND and PRONACO are the same, only the methodology differs,” Soyinka said.

He further stated that the Yar’Adua government and that of his predecessor, Obasanjo have missed opportunities to resolve issues in the Niger Delta.

The literary icon said what Nigeria needs at the moment is not rebranding but a total mending.

“If you have a rickety vehicle, and you repaint it and put new slogan on it, the engine will still knock. You’ve got to mend the vehicle. You have to retool the inner workings.

Trying to put lipstick on a pig’s mouth does not make it to become Miss Nigeria. What we need to do is to mend and not to rebrand.”

Soyinka berated those who tried to label the recent bombing of the Atlas Cove jetty as an ethnic assault. Such comment, he said, are capable of causing other kinds of conflagration than the physical one that engulfed the Atlas Cove.

“I take exception to the belief that it is an action by one ethnic group against another or a group against an ethnic group. Those who call themselves elders or perceived to be elders should be more guarded in their comments. It is a very dangerous piece of language. It appeals to psychopaths and those who are naturally prone to violence.”

Soyinka, however, urged MEND to flush the deviants among them.

He commended Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who he said did not regard the attack on Atlas Cove as an assault against the Yoruba.

He said Fashola only spoke as the chief security officer of the state.

Soyinka urged the state government to come to the aid of the relations of those who lost their lives in the Atlas Cove attack.

Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (3rd right) cutting the tape to commission cars procured by the Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) for beneficiaries of its female taxi cab drivers’ scheme, yesterday.

Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (3rd right) cutting the tape to commission cars procured by the Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) for beneficiaries of its female taxi cab drivers’ scheme, yesterday.

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PDP Kicks As INEC Declares APC’s Lyon Winner In Bayelsa… Commission Concludes Kogi’s Guber Poll Results Collation, Today… We Remain Strong, United -PDP …Observers Urge INEC To Reject Results In Bayelsa

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Chief David Lyon, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has been declared winner of the governorship election held in Bayelsa State on Saturday.
Lyon polled 352,552 to defeat his rival from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Duoye Diri, who got 143,172 votes, according to official results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission,
INEC’s Returning Officer of the election and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Faraday Orunmuwese, around 1:03am on Monday.
He said, Lyon, having satisfied the electoral criteria by scoring the highest number of vote cast was hereby declared winner of the governorship poll.
The APC recorded more than a landslide result in Southern Ijaw, polling a gargantuan 124,803 votes against the PDP’s 4,898 votes. The result is certainly APC’s joker in the poll.
Official results in the eight local government areas had APC’s Lyon winning with 352,552 while PDP’s Duoye Diri has 143,172.
In Ogbia, the local government of former President Goodluck Jonathan has Lyon in massive win. Lyon got a massive vote of 58,016 to defeat the PDP’s candidate, Douye Diri who scored 13,763 votes.
Also, Lyon won massively in Nembe, the local government of former Governor of the State and Minister of State of Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
Lyon won by a landslide in Nembe, polling 83,041, as against Diri’s paltry votes of 874.
However, Lyon suffered a massive loss in the Sagbama Local Government Area, home of Governor Seriake Dickson.
The PDP recorded a landslide in Dickson’s LGA, polling 60,339, while the APC scored 7,831 votes. Accord Party got 131 votes.
In Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, APC polled 8,934 to lose to the PDP, which scored 15,360.
In Brass LG, APC claimed victory, with a total vote of 23,831, while PDP got 10,410 votes.
In Ekeremor Local Government, Lyon polled 21,489 votes to edge out PDP’s Diri, who scored 18,344 votes.
Meanwhile, the Returning Officer for the election and Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Umar says the collation of results in the governorship election in Kogi State will be concluded today. He announced this yesterday in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
Professor Umar told party agents and other political stakeholders present at the INEC office where the collation of results took place that the exercise would continue by 9am on Monday.
He explained that the announcement was necessary as the results of the election in the remaining two local governments have yet to be brought to the collation centre.
The announcement followed the collation of results of the election in 19 out of the 21 local government areas (LGAs) in Kogi.
Those collated so far are Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ankpa, Bassa, Dekina, Idah, Igalamela-Odolu, Ijumu, and Kabba/Bunu LGAs.
Others are Koton Karfe, Mopa-Muro, Ofu, Ogori/Magongo, Okehi, Okene, Olamaboro, Omala, Yagba East, and Yagba West LGAs.
The local governments where results are expected are Ibaji and Lokoja LGAs.
The incumbent governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yahaya Bello, as well as the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP), Musa Wada and Natasha Akpoti, are among the leading contenders in the election.
Of the results collated so far, it is a close battle between Bello who won 10 LGAs and Wada who claimed nine LGAs while Natasha has yet to win any local government.
However, the governor has so far polled 374,081 votes and taken the lead with over 200,000 votes as his PDP and SDP rivals scored 168,141 and 8,539 votes respectively.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday rejected what it termed fictitious results being reeled out by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from Okene and other areas to favour the All Progressives Congress (APC).
PDP demanded the “immediate cancellation of such allocated results, particularly in Okene Local Government Area.”
A statement by PDP’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, maintained that “nobody can accept the provocative alteration of results from polling units as well as allocation of fictitious votes, particularly the awarding of 112, 000 votes to APC in Okene.”
PDP stated that the people of Kogi State have “glaring evidence of alterations of figures to reduce our vote of and allocate imported figures to the APC.”
The party cautioned “INEC not to ever declare such mutilated results as they will not be accepted by the people.”
“Our party hopes that this apparent moves to allocate fictitious results to the APC has no bearing with the allegations in the public space that Governor Yahaya Bello and the APC had compromised highly placed INEC officials with huge sums of money to alter result in favour of the APC.
“We, therefore, caution the INEC to note that any attempt to declare the figures being bandied for the APC will be a validation of the bribery allegation.
“The only way out is for INEC to cancel and drop the fictitious figures being bandied and declare only the results from votes cast and declared at the respective polling units,” the statement added.
The PDP also raised objections to some of the results announced for the governorship election in Kogi State, in which the incumbent, Yahaya Bello is galloping away to victory.
Also, a coalition of civil society organisations have called for the rejection of results from areas where elections did not hold.
The coalition, representing various groups accredited by INEC as Observers for the Bayelsa election, made this call Sunday evening, at a press briefing in Yenagoa, as interim election report.
The election monitoring group said voting did not take place in Nembe and Ekeremor Local Government areas, including some units in Yenagoa, where violence marred the process.
Though, results from Ekeremor Local Government Area were still being expected, but INEC has collated the results presented from Nembe LGA, where the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled a total of 83,041 votes, leaving the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with 784 votes.
But the observers said “Nembe LGA was the worst hit in pre-election and election related violence”, stressing that, “Elections did not hold in Nembe LGA”.
“On Wednesday, the 13th of November, 2019, a political party was having a campaign in Nembe LGA. Some blood thirsty gunmen came to the venue and opened fire without any provocation whatsoever, killing scores of law abiding Nigerians.
“Same gunmen prevented election from holding in Nembe LGA. Till the time of this briefing, there has been no arrests, no prosecution, thus increasing the impunity associated with committing such heinous crime as perpetrators are largely known and seen moving freely in such communities,” the coalition stated.
The group also observed that, “In Yenagoa Ward 5, Epie 2 Ward 4, Apiffa 2 Ward 2 and Epie 3 Ward 6, elections did not hold.
“Some parts of Southern Ijaw were completely disrupted with violence. There was no elections in Ekeremor”.
The observers expressed shock that, “Several communities in Bayelsa state were sacked, not due to flood or any natural disaster, but as a result of their affiliation to a particular political party”, adding that, their interest was to preserve the democracy of Nigeria.
While berating the activities of the Nigerian security agencies in Bayelsa state, the observers want “politicians who sponsor, fund, aide or abate violence be made to face the full wrath of the law”.
The observers also alleged that the fundamental human rights of citizens of Bayelsa, as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, were grossly violated.
“What we saw in some LGAs in Bayelsa state is an aberration to this constitutional provision and grossly not in consonance with the provision of the Electoral Act 2010 as Amended.
“We observed that elections did not hold in some parts of Bayelsa State as it was grossly disrupted by violence, intimidation and ballot box snatching. In some instances, there were complete absence of voting materials and Ad hoc staff”, the group added.
Present at the briefing are, Mr. S. B Bafunsho of Organization of Justice for Equity Sustenance; Dr. Isaac Onyike of Centre for Strategic Conflict Management and Comrade Peter Nwokolo of Citizens Rights & Leadership Awareness Initiative.
Others include, Sandra Osunde of Global Policy Advocacy & Leadership Initiative; Dr. Nwambu Gabriel and Rev. John Pofi of Reverend John Pofi Foundation.

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Wike Recommits To Harmonious Host Communities, IOCs’ Ties

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has reemphasised that the state governments’ aim as mediator in conflicts affecting oil companies and host communities was to ensure peaceful working relations that propel community development.
Wike said that most community-based crisis organisations experience could be averted, if they involved the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs in dealings with host communities as well as abide by the GMoUs in the cause of carrying out their commercial activities.
The governor stated this in Port Harcourt during a peace meeting between Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Company, operators of OML 54 and its host communities, Ogbehe, Obumeze and Ugbokor in Ahoada East Local Government Area and Otari Community in Abua/Odual Local Government Area.
According to the governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, corporations which are able to abide by signed GMoUs stand to experience less friction as most host communities want a fair share of their social responsibility.
“We don’t like when host communities are distressed neither do we like operating companies disturbed,” he said.
He further advised companies to desist from using force because community misunderstanding cannot be handled with harassment.
The closed-door meeting was attended by Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR) representatives led by the Manager, HSC, Tom-George Walter, House of Assembly member representing Abua/Odual, chiefs, youths and opinion leaders of both communities and the permanent secretaries of Ministry of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Special Service Bureau, Office of the Secretary to the State Government.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government is also mediating on the face-off between Prime Exploration and Production Ltd and Asarama community in Andoni LGA.

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I’m Gov Because God Dislodged Forces Of Darkness On March 9 -Wike

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that he remains Rivers State governor because of the intervention of God who dislodged forces of darkness who were primed to rob the Rivers mandate on March 9, 2019.
Speaking during the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Holy Ghost Rally at the Adokiye Amiesimaka, yesterday, Wike described himself as a living testimony of God’s blessing.
He said: “Nigerians are aware of what happened on March 9, 2019. If anyone says he does not believe in God, that event of March 9 should make you believe God.
“But for God, the enemies would have taken over the state. I thank the church for standing firm. They prayed for God’s will to be done and God’s will was done. But for your prayers, I won’t be here as Rivers State governor.”
Wike said the criticisms on his declaration of Rivers State as a Christian State cannot stop him from affirming the reality.
The governor said: “Anytime I have the opportunity, I repeat the declaration with authority and I owe nobody an apology. I am standing on solid Authority. Rivers State is a Christian State.”
He commended the Redeemed Christian Church of God for their sanitation programme, tagged ‘Pick A Thrash’.
“If we have all churches embark on sanitation, our state will be cleaner. We will support this programme financially and we shall donate three vehicles to the church for the programme”, he said.
Wike said that God has used the General Overseer of RCCG to bless Rivers State, adding that the Annual Holy Ghost Rally has been a blessing to the state.
In his remarks, the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God ( RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye said everyone needs help, and noted that the best source to get help was from God.
Adeboye said: “No matter how influential and powerful, everyone needs help. Everyone needs help and the best help you can get is from the Almighty God.”
He said that divine help was always on time and manifests at the time it was needed.
Adeboye prayed for Wike, Rivers State and her people.
Also speaking, the Pastor in charge of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Belemina Obunge announced that the second phase of the church’s Environmental Sanitation Programme has commenced.
Obunge expressed gratitude to Wike and the Government of Rivers State for the support over the years.
Young musician, Master Nengi Jaja and the RCCG Region 5 Choir ministered in songs at the Holy Ghost Rally.
Over 40,000 Christian faithful thronged the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for the RCCG Holy Ghost Rally, which had the theme: “Divine Help”.

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