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Political Fever Grips Sylva’s Supporters

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A Federal High Court judgement in Jos, Plateau State capital, on tenure of Governor Olusegun Oni of Ekiti State is currently causing political fever among the supporters of Chief Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State.

Sylva’s supporters are afraid that the judgement may also affect their principal, since he also had a re-run election, The Tide gathered.

Opponents of the government had openly jubilated with the hope that there will be election in the state next year instead of 2012, following the judgement of a federal high court sitting in Jos, which stated there will be election in Ekiti State.

Reacting to the stitation, the State Commissioner for Information, Strategy and Orientation, Mr Nathan Egba, said there is no cause for alarm as Sylva’s case is different from that of Oni.

Mr Egba explained that the circumstances in which re-run election was done in Ekiti was not the same as that of Bayelsa State.

“This is because unlike the situation in Ekiti State, where only results in 63 units in 10 local government areas were cancelled and re-contested for, the entire Bayelsa governorship election was cancelled and odered to be held afresh on the ground that no governorship election took place in 2007.

He refered those in doubt to a portion of the Jos judgement where it specifically refer to section 180 (2) (a) of the 1999 constitution and stated that since not the whole election was cancelled, Governor Oni had to go back to the electorate to seek re-election in 2011.

Piqued by the reaction of the Commissioner, the state Action Congress (AC) described the statement, as deceptive, misleading and laughable.

The Action Congress in a statement through its Acting Chairman, Comrade Miriki Ebikibina, who faulted the reaction of the Bayelsa Commissioner, said that it is unprofessional of Hon. Egba to make such jaundiced statement in a legal matter.

The statement which reads in part, “For the avoidance of doubt, the 1999 constitution and the recent amendment to the constitution, as well as the federal High Court, Jos ruling on Governor Oni’s tenure has addressed the issue instructively and constructively”.

He expressed hope that Hon. Egba “would not join the bandwagon” of past Information Commissioners in the state who had in the past acted as  town criers without a listening public.

“Section 180 (2a) of the 1999 constitution states that the Governor shall vacate office at the expiration of a period of four years, commencing from the date when he took the oath of allegiance and oath of office.”

“The 2010 amendment to the constitution further clarifies the position and state that a person whose election as Governor was annulled and also wins a consequent re-run does not serve more than constitutionally prescribed term of office.”

“The constitutionally prescribed term of office for a Governor is four years. Governor Timipre Sylva was sworn-in, in 2007 and, therefore, the oath of office he took as a Governor in 2008 was a mere confirmation of the 2007 oath of office he earlier took. His tenure effectively ends on May 29, 2011”.

The Action Congress expressed belief that the overwhelming majority of Bayelsans would not want to see Governor Timipre Sylva extend his tenure to 2012, saying that would be an aberration and a source of embarrassment to the people of the state especially as his administration “has only succeeded in impoverishing the people”.

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Niger Delta

Abducted NLC Chairman Regains Freedom In C’River

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The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Cross River State chapter, Comrade Ben Ukpepi, who was kidnapped three months ago, has regained his freedom.
Our correspondent reports that Ukpepi was kidnapped from his house at CROSPIL in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the State on March 21, 2021.
The Vice Chairman, NLC, Cross River State, Comrade Lawrence Achuta, said the victim was released on Monday by 3.30pm.
In a statement, he said, “Recall that Ben Ukpepi was kidnapped from his CROSPIL estate residence in Akpabuyo on the 21st of March 2021.
“We are very glad, and thankful to God Almighty for his safe release by the Kidnappers.
“I use this opportunity to thank the Organised Labour family in the State, particularly the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Medical and Health Workers Union and some members of his family.
“He is undergoing some routine medical checks at the moment. Once again, I thank all who stood by us throughout this difficult moment,” he quipped.

By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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Niger Delta

Bayelsa Set To Inaugurate Environment Vanguard

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The Bayelsa State Government is set to establish a new body charged with the responsibility of protecting the environment from degradation and other environment related causes.
This was made known to newsmen, Tuesday during the celebration of the 2021World Environment Day by the state government in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The Tide gathered that the United Nations had declared 5th June every year as World Environment Day, necessitating the Bayelsa State government to commemorate the 2021 Environment Day Tuesday, 15 June, 2021 following other activities which had earlier caused its postponement penultimate week by the state government.
Giving approvals to demands made by the State Commissioner for Environment, Iselema Gbaranbiri, as contained in his welcome address for the occasion, the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, restated government’s commitment towards protecting the state’s ecosystems and all matters relating to the environment within the available resources of the state.
Diri noted that following his willingness to promote policies and make decisions aimed at protecting the state’s Ecosystems from further degradation, the state government recently had made approvals for the shore protection work of Obogoro community in the Yenagoa council area of the state.
He promised to do same subsequently for other affected communities of the state, assuring that government would soon work on an executive bill to set up the state ‘Environment Vanguard’.
“The prosperity government shall soon work on a legislation to set up the state Environment Vanguard”, he said.
“This vanguard, when established would work with the ministry of environment and other relevant stakeholders in the environment sector to protect our Ecosystems and environment from continuous degradation”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, Honourable Gbaranbiri, has said the ministry of environment intends to deal decisively with those who were in the habit of flagrantly disrespecting nvironmental safety rules and guidelines in the state.
Gbaranbiri cautioned people to desist forthwith from ecosystem and unfriendly environmental phenomena, just as he stated that the ministry of environment had recently apprehended some persons,(names withheld) whom he said were involved in some unfriendly activities on the environment.
He commended Governor Diri for making funds available to the ministry for the execution of various environmental functions, pleading that the governor shore up the financial provisions made available to the ministry due to rising environmental challenges.
“ I commend the executive governor, his excellency, Governor Douye Diri, for making funds available for the ministry of environment, for the execution of its functions and programmes. But I also want to plead that you increase the funding coming to the ministry, because of the increasing environmental challenges”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the theme of the 2021 world Environment Day was tagged: ‘Join the Campaign to Restore our Ecosystem’
Similarly, guest lecturer for the occasion and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Niger Delta University, professor, Ibaba, S. Ibaba has called on government to implement guidelines and rules governing the environment to the letter, noting that the lack of political will by state actors in managing the environment was the bane of a clean, healthy and safe environment for all.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Balyesa, United Nigeria Airline Sign MoU On Flight Operations

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The United Nigeria Airline has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bayelsa State Government for the commencement of direct scheduled flight operations into and out of Bayelsa International Airport.
The Head, Corporate Communications, Mr Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, confirmed the agreement in a statement in Lagos yesterday.
Uchegbu explained that according to the terms of the agreement, United Nigeria would operate four daily flights in and out of the airport.
“United Nigeria will service the Bayelsa International Airport daily from the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MM2) in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“With the MoU, the airline will commence direct flight operations to Bayelsa International Airport in July,” he said.
Uchegbu said that the MoU was signed in the presence of Gov. Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State and the state’s executive council.
Speaking, Diri noted that with the signing of the MoU, Bayelsans would begin to reap the benefits of the government’s investment in infrastructure.
The governor said that the venture would open Bayelsa, the resource base of Nigeria to the world.
Diri said the airline was chosen as partner because of its quality of service and efficiency.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO), United Nigeria Airline, Mr Osita Okonkwo, thanked the government and people of the state for choosing it.
He gave assurance that the airline would continue to offer the quality service that the airline was known for.

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